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Saturday, 10 November 2018
Saturday, 19 January 2019
The Almeida theatre’s sell-out production of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke is going to transfer to the West End, playing at the Duke of York's theatre following a glittering run in early 2018. This awe-inspiring new version is directed to perfection by the Almeida's Rebecca Frecknall, and the entire cast reprise their roles at the Duke of York’s. First on stage in London in 2006, sixty years after it was written, the plot takes you to a small town in Mississippi, USA, where minister’s daughter Alma Winemiller starts a highly unlikely and very complex romance with the young doctor next door, John Buchanan. The resulting play tracks the age-old primal conflict between the spirit and the flesh, and it's completely extraordinary.
This is one of Williams' earliest plays, finished in 1945 then re-written obsessively until he decided it was perfect. Rebecca Frecknall has given the play a magical new face, with staging that rejects realism in favour of expressionist imagery. Patsy Ferran, who plays Alma, is one of the most exciting actors on the UK stage today. And the strange setting, a pit of sandy soil ringed by nine pianos, adds an extra edge to this already succulent production, richly fascinating and deeply satisfying.