Elizabeth Taylor played Maggie to Paul Newman’s Brick in Richard Brooks’s 1958 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; a more perfect sexual promise left unfulfilled was never committed to celluloid. But if you want truly pyrotechnical sexual chemistry, it’s hard to look past Taylor’s onscreen work with her real-life husband Richard Burton. There was something prurient, sure, but also undeniably erotic about that glimpse into a real marriage that lent their performances an enduring electrical charge. Kip William’s production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for Sydney Theatre Company attempts something a little different: a real-life father and son cast in the roles of Big Daddy and Brick, presumably in the hope that some familial sparks might fly. The result couldn’t be further from the Taylor–Burton template: not so much a power blackout as a total failure in the design of the circuitry systems.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Sydney Theatre Company)
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