Review:Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a Biting Drama
The Ringgold Playhouse closes its season with Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
which won him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955 and has gone on to become an American classic. It is the story of the Pollitt family, a wealthy family whose patriarch, simply referred to as Big Daddy, is faced with his own mortality while the rest of the family attempts to gain control of his estate.
The play’s primary focus is around the conflict of Big Daddy’s son, Brick, played by Joshua Chisholm, and his wife Maggie “the Cat,” played by Whitney Standefer. Both Joshua and Whitney carried the show quite well with truly professional quality performances. Regulars of the Ringgold Playhouse will recognize Josh from other performances including last season’s production of Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire.
I was not surprised to learn that he studied theatre at Florida Gulf Coast University. I was, however, extremely shocked to find out that this was Whitney’s first time being on stage in many years and that she had only been involved with a small handful of plays in her life. The onstage chemistry meshed well between these two as their character’s conflict built the tension in the play.
The play was directed by Ronald King who most notably served as the Dalton Little Theatre board president up until this past season. While sitting in on their dress rehearsal I got to witness first hand his positivity and enthusiastic support of his cast and was impressed with how close the cast had become because of it.
“The cast has been wonderful throughout the whole process. They’ve really worked hard to bring this play together and their work definitely shows. I am proud of what they have been able to accomplish.” Ronald said.
We also talked with Ronald about the play itself and it’s meaning and message. He opened up to us about his own personal connection with the script and why the play is important to him.
“The issues that Cat on a Hot Tin Roof deals with are ones I can relate to from my own family. Many of the things the play deals with are things that I myself have had to go through in my life.” Ronald said.
This authenticity shows. There are many moments in the play that feel very real. Even small minute details that sprinkle the show in the blocking help to suspend disbelief that you are not sitting in the Ringgold Depot, but instead are actually witnessing the real life events of the Pollitt family at their cotton estate in Mississippi. There were even times I wanted to get up from my chair in order to give a hug to Big Mama, played by Aleatha Plott, whose performance was extremely tender hearted and touching.
Tennessee has a tenacity of telling gripping stories of families drenched in inner conflict and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
is no exception. The production at the Ringgold Playhouse treats the script with dignity by delivering a stellar performance from an extremely talented cast. The show will continue Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30pm and a 2:30pm matinee on Saturday.