I’VE seen Tennessee Williams’ poignant play “The Glass Menagerie” before and the Oldham Coliseum’s production, directed by Sarah Punchon, moved me yet again.
This is the sad story of an ageing southern belle, Amanda (Louise Bangay), who has fallen on hard times. Once a feted and courted girl, she chose the wrong man, who left her. Now she is struggling to cope with her two children, Tom (James Joyce), who feels stifled and desperate to escape from his mindless job in a warehouse, and Laura (Katie Moore), a terribly shy girl whose limp has prevented her from coping with the outside world. Instead she listens to old records and treasures her collection of glass animals. Amanda is anxious to see her daughter married and persuades Tom to bring a workmate home for dinner. Tom brings Jim (Harry Livingstone), unaware Laura had a secret crush on him at High School.
This is a wonderfully crafted drama. I felt such empathy for all the characters. As a mother I sympathised with Amanda’s concern for her daughter and recognised her desire to see Laura follow in her mother’s path. I also identified with her remembrances of her happy days of youth, but not her constant harping on them.
But this is also Tom and Laura’s life. The scenes in Act Two when Laura and her “gentleman caller” Jim talk, are achingly heartbreaking, as we watch this shy, fragile girl, blossom for a brief moment.
An accomplished cast bring this touching drama to life.
The Coliseum’s next production is “Britain’s Got Bhangra”, about a farmer’s son from India who comes to England to make a better living, and after that is the fabulous Coliseum Panto, “Dick Whittington”.
Box office: 0161 6242829. Website: www.coliseum.org.uk