'Out Cry', Lyric Hammersmith, London W6 (0181-741 2311) from 22 Apr


"The best of his plays are as permanent as anything can be in the age of Kleenex": thus spake Gore Vidal, master of the tart remark, of his sometime friend Tennessee Williams, a writer of whom it is often said that he ran his career in reverse. After the tumultuous success of his New York debut The Glass Menagerie and the explosion created by A Streetcar Named Desire, the plays grew more and more baroque and the quality never met the quantity.

Actor and director Timothy Walker is firmly unconvinced by this argument, first promulgated by a fiercely homophobic American press in the 1960s. The criticism consisted of dark, covert mutterings about Williams's sterility (we all know what that means) or, later, open hostility to the endlessly spun tales of boys and the booze that the playwright told to any interviewer who would listen. It's true that most of the late plays are not unalloyed masterpieces and that in terms of tone and characterisation Williams obsessively drank from the same well as had inspired his greatest work, but for Walker, Out Cry remains a crucial, central work, written from a wealth of experience.

He discovered it 11 years ago and felt an immediate, strong affinity with its ambiguity and artistic aspirations. Written in 1967, it was originally entitled The Two Character Play, but Williams renamed and rewrote it five times over the next years for successive productions. "We're doing the fictional version which is much the best. In many ways, it's the ultimate Tennessee Williams play. At the age of 14 he discovered writing as a means of escaping from real life. Great theatre, however, exposes emotional reality, which is what Out Cry is directly about... but in an indirect way," he adds hastily.

Directing for Cheek By Jowl for the first time, Walker is having to face up to the strange business of being "not Declan Donnellan" (artistic director of CBJ), a bizarre position he can do nothing about. Not that he could be described as a theatrical parvenu, having played Hamlet for Donnellan, acted in six other Cheek by Jowl shows and assisted on Measure for Measure and The Duchess of Malfi.

His reasons for picking Out Cry are admirably clear. "It's a great play and nobody knows it." Tennessee Williams would approve. He described it as "My most beautiful play since Streetcar," adding, "It's the big one, close to the marrow of my being."

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    General Cover Teacher

    £120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

    SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

    £120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

    General Cover Teacher

    £120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

    SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

    £50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?