I did Literature at University, but that sadly doesn’t mean I’m knowledgeable about all things literary! I love reading, however, and some of the things I’ve studied have inevitably become my faves. A while ago, my friends from home back in the North West invited me to go see my absolute most treasured play of all time, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, in Manchester, and I really, really could not resist.
I’ve been waiting to see this play since I was about 17, no word of a lie. In school I was always confident, outgoing and pretty passionate, especially when it came to acting (I was always in Musical Theatre, Drama, Singing and so on…) and so I used to leap at the chance to read Maggie, the story’s protagonist. It’s hard to concisely explain what I love about this Tennessee Williams play without it sounding like an essay, but I think I just love how ahead of its time it was, and how much it makes me think. It explores a range of issues from homosexuality, to alcoholism and themes such as lying – or ‘mendacity’ as it’s so often broached in the play. Coupled with the fact that Maggie and her husband Brick (who may or not be harboring a secret love for his now deceased best friend, Skipper) are just so deep and complex AND they’re from the American deep south, I’m absolutely in love.
So I went to Manchester on Saturday afternoon, after a morning at Rape Crisis training. I left a few hours early, mostly because I’d had this planned for so long! I endured a long, ridiculous drive that took me all through the Peak District just to get there, but it was worth it!
I parked up and headed to meet the girls. Emma, her boyfriend James and his cousin were already waiting at a lovely restaurant called Kitchenette, opposite the Palace Theatre on Oxford Road. It’s a cute little place selling a range of tasty, modern and trendy dishes. A little on the hipster side (they call it ‘high class junk food’), but then, where isn’t these days? When another school friend, Louise, got there, we finally made our choices after a lot of deliberation! I opted for a Duck & Hoisin Sauce Pizza (without pickle… ew), and it was honestly one of the nicest pizzas I’d ever had. Also, because I’m a greedy cow, I also ordered some Pulled Pork Skins Sliders… also delicious.
After eating, we were cutting it pretty fine and so we soon headed out (pretty much dashing) to get our tickets and seats. When we got to the Royal Exchange Theatre, I was so impressed – I’d never been before but it’s beautiful, really cute and the lighting is lovely.
As for the play itself, they’d set the stage perfectly. With a simplistic, well lit design it really helped set the scene of the bedroom where the majority of the action takes place. Throughout, there were careful considerations – for example, bangs and colored lights when there were supposed to be fireworks, and I thought things like that added a really nice touch. Our seats were brilliant – look at our view!
When it came to the acting, the actual delivery of the play was almost exactly as I had imagined it after all these years. My only criticism would be that the actress playing Maggie, and the actor playing Big Daddy were completely off the mark with their accents (deep, Southern American drawl, remember!). They weren’t bad actors at all, but their accents needed a lot of work, and it made me question why they were still so… Australian and Piratey, respectively, at this point in the play’s run (we were at the final night!). Big Mama deserves special commendation though… she really stole the show, both with her accent and the impressive way with which she’d taken on her character’s quirks.
I’d recommend reading – and seeing - Cat On A Hot Tin Roof to anyone.
All in all, I had a lovely time, and it was fab going home for the weekend afterwards, to see my mum. I had the whole of Sunday with her – yay!
We had a lovely lunch on Sunday at the Bunbury Arms. It’s a lovely, independent restaurant/pub in the country, near Chester, and about ten minutes from where I grew up. I had a gorgeous Chicken & Chorizo casserole, as did my mum.
Weirdly, their placemats were also super cute. I told the waiter this, and I think he thought I said he was super cute… oops.
Incidentally, we also packed in a shopping trip to the amazing Cheshire Oaks Outlets. I bought a ton of Christmas presents… no pics or that would be telling though! Let’s just say I got some AMAZING bargains, and saved literally hundreds.
I also had new hair this weekend… yay! The lovely Lucy Astbury did it for me… exciting. I might do a separate post about my hair so stay tuned…
*Featured image courtesy of the MEN.