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Talk To Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen...

Little Theatre, Dundee
Four stars
A quartet of rarely-seen short plays by Tennessee Williams isn't the
obvious choice for Dundee Rep Ensemble's fifth annual tour of the
city's community venues. In director Irene Macdougall's hands, however,
Williams' sad little studies of little lives in everyday crisis are
revealed to be as rich in poetry and poignancy as his tempestuous
full-length works.

Opening with the compendium's title piece, the self-destructive urges
of the play's damaged young couple played by Thomas Cotran and Millie
Turner are captured in a series of desperate exchanges that sees them
finally cling to each other for comfort. Like them, all of Williams'
characters create elaborate fictions for themselves in order to survive
the madness of the world beyond the bare floorboards and shabby rooms
of Leila Kalbassi's set. Punctuated by a melancholy piano score, the
plays contain a contemporary currency too that speaks variously about
art, addiction and abuse.

In Mr Paradise, Turner's literary groupie comes calling on John Buick's
clapped-out poet who she wishes to reintroduce to the world. Auto-da-Fe
finds the sight of a dirty picture opening something up inside pious
Eloi he's unable to contain, even as his mother, played by Ann Louise
Ross, looks on with disapproval. Cotran and Turner fully come into
their own in This Property is Condemned as Tom and Willie, a pair of
teenagers playing on the rail-track. Dressed in a vivid purple dress
and spinning increasingly troubling yarns as she clutches on to her
doll, Turner gives a performance that is as truthful as it is grotesque
in an emotionally charged evening of miniature masterpieces.

The Herald, October 24th 2014



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