Fringe Revival of Tennessee Williams' Vieux Carre to Get Extended Run at London's Charing Cross Theatre
By Mark Shenton
Tennessee Williams' rarely-seen autobiographical play Vieux Carre, recently produced at London's King's Head fringe theatre in Islington, is to transfer to Central London's Charing Cross Theatre, beginning performances Aug. 14 prior to an official opening Aug. 15, for a three-week run through Sept. 1.
In a press statement, director Robert Chevara commented, "This transfer is an exciting and inspired vindication of the play and of our production. Vieux Carré is a play I believe in passionately as a great piece of theatre and a seminal late work by Tennessee Williams. We see here a master at the top of his game, who experimented with style and content until the end of his life. The later plays don't have the same linear drive as A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but they experiment with form, style and narrative in an equally thrilling way. Misunderstood at the time, today the diverse and visionary influences of avant-garde theatre, Ortonesque slapstick and Theatre of the Absurd make these late pieces feel incredibly modern and edgy."
Hildegard Neil, who played Miss Carrie, one of the starving old ladies, at the King’s Head Theatre, is taking over the role of Mrs. Wire. Neil's film credits include Cleopatra opposite Charlton Heston in his 1972 version of "Antony and Cleopatra" and the lead in Graham Greene's "England Made Me" opposite Michael York and Peter Finch. On stage, she was a company member at the RSC throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Not previously seen in London for 34 years, Vieux Carré is about an aspiring young writer, and the bizarre, poignant and funny characters he encounters at a New Orleans boarding house: 722 Toulouse Street in the French Quarter. They include Mrs. Wire, the young writer’s demented, manipulative landlady; Nightingale, an older, predatory, tubercular artist who refuses to accept his condition; Jane, a New Rochelle society girl dying of leukemia; her sexually ambiguous, drug-addicted lover Tye, who works as a bouncer in a strip club; Mary Maud and Miss Carrie, two eccentric elderly women who literally are starving to death; and a gay photographer with a passion for orgies.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7907 7075 or visit www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk for more details.
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