The Weekend Theater launched its 2007-2008 season last weekend with an impressive performance of Tennessee Williams' classic “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
The belle of the production, Paige Reynolds, charismatically depicted the love-starved Margaret, wife of the sullen Brick. Reynolds succeeded in coupling Margaret's sharp, often coarse diatribes with a Southern grace that elicited compassion.
Weekend Theater veteran Jeremy Estill played the boozer Brick flawlessly. Injured both physically and emotionally, Brick limps around the stage with a clumsy cast on his leg, dependent on his two means of support — alcohol and a crutch. Estill offered just the right amount of ice to Reynolds' fire.
Williams' heavy family drama has its humorous moments. In a play where men despise their wives, family members live in suspicion of one another and the specter of cancer looms over the narrative like a circling buzzard, moments of relief are needed. When Big Daddy entered the play in the second act, it felt like a parade of circus clowns arriving.
Tucker Steinmetz was born to play Big Daddy, the family's loudmouth, crass patriarch and owner of “28,000 acres of the richest land this side of the valley Nile.” Belligerent, irreverent and profane, Steinmetz had the audience laughing at every other line he uttered.
Also worthy of note was Julie Atkins as Mae, the fertile (mother of five and one on the way) daughter-in-law of Big Daddy. With her exaggerated pregnant belly and embellished stage entrances, Atkins gave Mae's Southern belle airs a tinge of comedy. Watching the performance was a delight.