Favorite son Brick (Clifford Nunley) is sullen and withdrawn, suffering the life of a closeted homosexual and disgusted with his existence. (He’s the only one who does not lust after inheritance; in fact, he’s trying to drink himself to death.) Brick’s wife “Maggie the Cat” (Katie Hamilton-Meier), with a powerful sense of self-preservation, constantly berates him. Older brother Gooper (Brian Griffin) and his manipulative wife Mae (Torie Pate) are simply venal, the parents of obnoxious, cartoonish children.
Directed by Greg Proccacino, Cat is populated with actors who have mastered each character’s central quality, but they stop there, never cohering as an ensemble. Burington has fire but not heft, and never really seems ill; Seibert is sympathetic, but too often drifts into caricature. Hamilton-Meier seems focused on being sharp rather than sensual. Nunley has more texture, but his self-loathing totally eradicates any sense of charm.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is about “lying and liars,” not to mention the disgust they generate. The characters spew self-serving versions of truth at one another, generating a powerful portrait of the corruption of a family. Kudos to the Covedale for taking a run at this great but challenging American drama.
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