Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
freeFall offers a first rate cast. Robert Glauz is a moody, melancholy Tom, with haunted eyes that allow us to see into his heart and soul. Stephanie Lynge captures the steel of Amanda Wingfield, mother to Tom and Laura, as well as the flirtatiousness of the Southern belle of her glory days. Ali Foley is the delicate Laura, so fragile that she avoids life in almost all its manifestations so as not to break like one of her glass animals. Michael David completes the cast as Jim O'Connor, also known as The Gentleman Caller, former high school big man on campus.
Eric Davis has made some directorial choices that I am at odds with. First, he divides what was written as a three-act play into two acts, act one and act two played together, intermission, then act three. It makes Williams' dramatic arc a little awkward. He directs Tom to play master puppeteer to the other characters in the first half of the original act one, which keeps him emotionally at a distance for me. Set designer Steven K. Mitchell provides three video screens, not necessarily appropriate for the historical setting. Most of the projections are period and work well, but a few jarred me. One that particularly bothered me shows homoerotic pictures that Amanda comes across in Tom's book, so no need to wonder if Tom is gay or not. Other than these matters, Mr. Davis directs a mostly straightforward version of this play.
As always in freeFall's productions, I find the use of space extremely interesting. The production is played in a thrust setting, audience on three sides. The setting clearly sets the living room and dinning room of the apartment as well as the fire escape and beyond. Costumes by Frank Chavez are period appropriate and Amanda's wardrobe imaginatively designed.
If you are yearning to see The Glass Menagerie, freeFall's production is well done. Surprisingly, I found the play doesn't hold up that well for me.
The Glass Menagerie, through February 25, 2018, at 6099 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg FL. For ticket and performance information, visit www.freefalltheatre.com.
Cast (in order of appearance):