Kingdom of Earth
Initially a short story inspired by a chance meeting, embellished by
personal experience and first staged in 1967, Tennessee Williams’ often
comic melodrama gets a rare revival to mark the centenary of his birth.
characters are quintessential Williams – Joseph Drake’s effeminate,
tubercular, cross-dressing Lot returning to his Mississippi Delta farmhouse
as the flood waters are rising, tarty Myrtle (Fiona Glascott) whom,
tactically, he’s just married on a TV show, and his earthy, resentful
half-brother Chicken (David Sturzaker), the “dark-complected” consequence
of their father’s extramarital dalliance.
It doesn’t stand comparison with the best of his work, but Lucy Bailey’s
well-acted production develops into a sexually charged game of cat-and-mouse
as, with Lot slumped impotently on the levee of Ruth Sutcliffe’s
treacherously silted design, Chicken plays dirty to secure his inheritance.
The Print Room, 34 Hereford Road, W2 5AJ
08444 77 1000
Tube: Notting Hill Gate
Until 28th May
– Louise Kingsley