A transfer from the Almeida, Rebecca Frecknell’s revival of this Tennessee Williams’ rarity is genuinely remarkable. It has all the tension of a vibrating violin string. In fact, it is a semi-circle of pianos that provide both the startling design and the underscoring for this tale about buttoned-up preacher’s daughter Alma who has a yen for her dissolute neighbour, John (Matthew Needham). This is a production which understands that Williams is a wild, non-naturistic playwright not a tame one, and its rich detail is immensely rewarding. If that doesn’t persuade you, then you should see it for a career-defining and heart-breaking performance from Patsy Ferran. Worth putting money on her cleaning up in the awards season.
Following a critically acclaimed, sold-out run at the Almeida Theatre, Rebecca Frecknall’s ‘shiveringly beautiful production’ (The Sunday Times) of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke transfers to the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season. Trapped between desire and a life of obligation, Alma meets John and her world turns upside down. With ‘spellbinding, stripped-back staging’ (Financial Times), this intoxicating classic about love, loneliness and self-destruction evokes the simmering passions of a sweltering summer in small-town Mississippi.