Ghosts in a glass menagerie

The Glass Menagerie, Open Space Theatre Company, Debenham Community Centre, May 28. Touring to The Cut, Halesworth on Friday June 4 and the Fisher Theatre, Bungay on Saturday and Sunday June 5 & 6

Director David Green features three of the cast of his production of Ibsen’s Ghosts. This gives a strange impression that the Alving household had emigrated and turned up in Missouri.

It is not an invidious comparison. Tennessee Williams’ play is also about the spectres of the past, with the children as victims. The father’s photograph, referred to in the play, is one of Williams himself. While he was nobody’s idea of a dad, this may show the playwright as father of what we see.

It could also make a point about the son as father of the man, in an autobiographical play narrated by the young Williams. The flakey claustrophobia of family life, set against personal aspirations, fuels the drama.

A course at night school, or the possibilities of a gentleman caller, are part of the 1930s American Dream.

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Yves Green is tremendous as the mother, a grand actressy figure, bigger than her surroundings but constantly battling reality. She dresses up for the gentleman caller as though he was royalty rather than a warehouse clerk.

Mike Davison gives a searing performance as the son battling the constraints of family life. As the shy, disabled daughter Cathy Gill has a see-through anguish.

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The long and touching scene with the gentleman caller, where she briefly comes to life and confidence, is exquisitely acted by her and Darren France.

Basil Abbott

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