Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opened at the Lyric Theatre on 18 September (previews from 5 September) and had been booking up to 22 December 2001. It has now extended by a fortnight and is taking bookings up to 12 January 2002. Following a regional tour, Star Quality opened at the Apollo Theatre on 30 October 2001 (previews from 23 October) and had been booking up to 22 December 2001. It has extended by four weeks to 26 January 2002. Both productions are presented in the West End by Bill Kenwright.
Considered one of Williams' masterpieces, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is set in a Mississippi plantation house at the time of ailing Big Daddy's birthday party, an event which sets the scene for family recriminations and revelations. His son Brick, a former college sports star, is more upset about the death of his friend Skipper than the disintegration of his marriage to a sexually frustrated wife.
Fraser (Brick) - famous for his roles in Hollywood films such as The Mummy Returns, Bedazzled, Blast from the Past, Gods and Monsters and George of the Jungle - is joined in the cast by Frances O'Connor (Maggie) and Ned Beatty (Big Daddy) as well as Gemma Jones, Clive Carter and Abigail McKern. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is directed by Anthony Page and designed by Maria Bjornson with lighting by Howard Harrison.
Based on a short story by Noel Coward, Star Quality is adapted and directed by Christopher Luscombe. A backstage comedy surrounding the staging of a new work, Star Quality relates the clashes between a temperamental leading lady, a ruthless director and a jaded set of old troupers.
Penelope Keith and Una Stubbs are joined in the Star Quality cast by Russell Boulter, Peter Celler, Nick Fletcher, Nick Waring and Marjorie Yates. The production is designed by Tim Goodchild with lighting by Rick Fisher.
- by Terri Paddock