We discover what critics have had to say about Jeremy Herrin’s revival of Tennessee Williams’s classic play.

Credit: Johan Persson

WhatsOnStage: *** “It’s altogether a cosier two and a half hours than you might expect: it’s a production which handles its audience and characters carefully, unafraid of its own quietness. The lasting impression is more of a mood than any revelation. It passes over you like a dream, dissolving gently.”

The Guardian: ** “Under the direction of Jeremy Herrin, the first half feels flat-footed and without Williams’s heady mix of yearning, passion and despair. Paul Hilton, as the narrator, plays the older Tom looking back, and is an enlivening force, even if he prowls around the stage without enough to do. The actors on the whole deliver their lines efficiently enough but the emotional centre is just not there. Annis’s Laura seems like a marginal character and Glynn-Carney’s Tom is fiery but for ever marching off stage in anger.”

Evening Standard: ** “Which brings us back to Adams. She’s not bad, just unremarkable in a role that strikes a single, clanging note of hysterical gentility throughout. Amanda exists in a state of brittle desperation, simultaneously cajoling and alienating her children. The part doesn’t offer glamour, and Adams misses what dramatic nuance there is to be found in it.”

Time Out: *** “It’s a humane and even beautiful take on a classic play, that tries to do something different simply by treating Williams’s characters with the love and affection so often withheld from them. In the not unlikely event that you’re here to see Hollywood star Amy Adams do some good but not showy offy acting, you’re very much covered. But ‘The Glass Menagerie’ is one of the greatest plays ever written, and this production lacks its full, devastating potential.”

London Unattached: “The play is poignant and perhaps if I was seeing The Glass Menagerie for the first time, I’d have cried, as I have done previously. This production, the first show from Second Half Productions, seemed less emotional but left me far more aware of the underlying story and with a deep respect for the script itself.”

Hollywood Reporter: “Whether this is a symptom or the cause of a slightly underwhelming production is difficult to judge; by all accounts the play is a delicate thing that often eludes the best of them. On the plus side, the low wattage of the tentpole star turns the evening into a more pronounced ensemble affair that is always gently engaging, and through which one actor does wring a briefly shattering degree of pathos.”

Culture Whisper: **** “The boldness in this revival comes, perversely, from its notable delicacy. The resentment that runs through Tennessee Williams’s classic is softened into regret. As the older Tom Wingfield looks back, he shows us that adventure and freedom can’t extinguish the formative force of familial bonds.”

The Independent:*** “The Oscar nominee lacks flamboyant charisma in a Tennessee Williams revival that’s frustratingly light on laughter.”

Theatre Weekly: “All in all, the impressive cast outshine this bland revival.  Where previous productions of The Glass Menagerie have created a sense of magic and wonderment, this one seems to be relying on its star casting, and perhaps that’s the answer to where it has, in part, gone wrong.”

London Theatre.co.uk:*** “Like Laura’s precious glass unicorn, it has moments of beauty but feels too fragile for this world – one wrong move and it will all shatter.”

The Telegraph: *** “Jeremy Herrin’s production of the breakthrough Tennessee Williams play stars Amy Adams as neurotic and pitiable Amanda.”

Variety: “Director Jeremy Herrin is faithful to multiple elements of Williams’ stage directions — including a screen of accompanying images above the action — but he aims to deliver the play’s essence in unexpected ways. Stripping away almost all props and laying bare the staging mechanics, he’s attempting to expose and enhance the play’s essence. Does he succeed? Yes and no.”

The Times: *** “Is there enough star power to keep the revival aloft? The casting of the Hollywood luminary Amy Adams as Amanda Wingfield, the troubled matriarch in this early work by Tennessee Williams, may be the main selling point. Whether the gambit works is another matter. All praise to Adams, nevertheless, for taking on a role that has tested many an actress.”

The Glass Menagerie will play at the Duke of York’s Theatre until the 27th August 2022. To book tickets click here.


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