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In addition to his best known full length works (which included A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). Tennessee Williams also knocked off over 70 one act plays before he choked to death in a New York hotel in 1983.

Defibrillator theatre company has teamed up with the Grange Holborn Hotel to put on three of these more experimental pieces, previously unperformed over here and each taking place in a different  suite.

Written in 1970, Green Eyes is the most disturbingly powerful and voyeuristic of the trio.

A young bride (Clare Latham) is covered in bruises, and her angry serviceman husband, home on leave, dog tags round his neck, wants to know why.

Up close and personal, there’s nowhere for the audience to hide and Matt Milne’s simmering rage – at the new wife he should probably never have married and at the actions he’s been ordered to carry out in uniform - fills their small New Orleans hotel room.

In The Travelling Companion, an aging, drug-dependent, homosexual writer (based on Williams himself) finds that his latest pick-up is reluctant to fulfil the implicit terms of his employment until he manoeuvres a way for the young hustler to share the room’s double bed.

Finally – and most amusingly- Sunburst sees a wealthy old spinster (a former actress unable to walk after a sudden illness) turn the tables on a scheming bellhop (Charlie Hollway) and his rather dim-witted gay lover who have their sights set on her diamond ring. Carol Macready has a glint in her eye as the indomitable Miss Sails who isn’t going to give in easily.

It’s a shame the atmosphere is broken between each playlet as we’re guided up the stairs to the next suite, but staging them in a hotel is a neat idea and these little morsels from the pen of a great American playwright whet the appetite for something more substantial.

Grange Holborn Hotel, Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4AR
Tube | Holborn
Until 27th October


Image: Simon Annand


Tennessee Williams's The Hotel Plays review: Defibrillator theatre company, London
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