The Baby Doll of the title is middle-aged cotton gin owner Archie Lee's 19-year-old virgin wife who has vowed to deny her husband sex until her 20th birthday. Though Archie Lee is consumed with jealousy and desire, the trouble doesn't really begin until he locks horns with business rival Silva Vaccaro. Suspecting that Archie has burned down his gin, Vaccaro exacts Sicilian vengeance upon Archie Lee's child bride.
Baby Doll was one of Williams' most controversial works. When Elia Kazan's film, starring Karl Malden and Carroll Baker, was released in the 1950s, it caused outrage in America. Cardinal Spellman famously denounced the film as immoral from the pulpit of St Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
The British stage production stars Jonathan Cake, as Vaccaro, and Charlotte Emmerson, as Baby Doll. Well known for his TV and film roles, such as Sir Oswald Mosley in Mosley, Cake's theatre work includes Mill on the Floss for Shared Experience and several RSC productions. Emmerson's theatre work includes The Crucible (national tour).
Baby Doll is directed by Lucy Bailey and designed by Bunny Christie with lighting by Chris Davey and music by Django Bates.