Rose Fatherazi

Sweet Bird of Youth Review

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From 1 June – 31 August 2013, The Old Vic theatre has been showing one of the most outstanding, well-known works of Tennessee Williams ‘Sweet Bird of Youth,’ and by far, it was the most thrilling performance I’ve seen in a long time. Staring Sex and the City’s favourite star Kim Cattrall, and the attractive Seth Numrich, comes a tragic yet poetic story set in 1956 St Cloud, Florida where a good looking drifter, Chance Wayne, returns back to his home town with a faded movie star Alexandra Del Lago to find, not only his long lost youth, but also his long lost love whom he is forbidden to see.

If it isn’t obvious by the title, one of the most crucial themes in this play is the importance and essence of youth. Alexandra Del Lago (Kim Cattrall) is an ageing star that is trying to run away from her past after she saw how old she looked on the night of her movie premier. Naturally she sought comfort in Chance Wayne (Seth Numrich), a young man who, not only has a dark past himself, but also feels the advantages of youth slipping away as time ticks by. In a desperate rage to get his life back on track, Chance clings onto Del Lago in the blind hope that she could raise him, and his childhood sweetheart Heavenly (Louise Dylan), to fame.

Though Tennessee Williams never came up with a conclusive version of ‘Sweet Bird of Youth,’ Oliver Award-winner Marianne Elliot‘s creative mind managed to find the perfect way of constructing all the drafts together, gradually filling up the holes that might have been missed by any other director or editor. Elliot has come up with her own, definitive version of this poetic work of art. Only Tennessee Williams could find such a brilliant balance between dark comedy and lugubrious tragedy, but being able to show that same balance in a theatre production is a whole other story.

Just like any other Williams play, ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ starts off with an ambiguous yet powerful opening scene, making us want to know what has happened, and what’s going to happen next. This feeling is forever present during the course of the play and as each scene goes on, a little bit of history is revealed from each character. It’s not until the very end where the plays full potential is shown. It’s so powerful that feeling tired physically (as well as mentally) is a common side effect in the aftermath.

Now, before I go off telling you the whole plot of the play, I’ll leave it here, but not until I urge you to check out the site itself.

Take this opportunity to see this play (if you haven’t already) before it leaves us on 31 August. I can honestly say that you won’t be disappointed!

If you have seen it, write a comment below giving us your thoughts or tweet us.

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