THE INFORMATION on; Suddenly Last Summer

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The Independent Culture
What is it?

Following his poorly-received Antony and Cleopatra, Sean Mathias directs the Donmar revival of Tennessee Williams's 1957 play focusing on the mystery surrounding the death of Violet Venable's son, Sebastian. Described by Noel Coward, as "Williams at his worst", this intense and yet often absurd Southern Gothic drama, is rendered still camper by Tim Hatley's Little Shop of Horrors-esque set.

Who's In It?

Rachel Weisz (right) and Sheila Gish take the roles made famous by Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn in the 1958 movie.

What They Say About It

"With emotions and motives laid bare from the start, everything peaks too soon, putting a strain on the play's rising emotional arc. It also ruins the tension," David Benedict, Independent.

"When it comes to overheated, second-rate campery like this, he's [Sean Mathias] terrific. Give him a real masterpiece like Antony and Cleopatra, however, and he's completely out of his depth," Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph.

"...what a searing, super performance she [Rachel Weisz] gives: mercurially flashing between laughter and sobs... Miss Gish (right) is even better, except when Mathias's lazy ear allows her to perform at a dash... Her rages and collapses are like the slitherings of a very risky snake. A true theatrical sensation," Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard.

Where You Can See It

Suddenly Last Summer is at the Comedy Theatre, Panton Street, London SW1 (0171-369 1731) to 17 July