Did the critics have a cracking time at The Glass Menagerie with Amy Adams?
Did Jeremy Herrin create a shattering production?
Amy Adams has arrived in the West End in a neat new production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie! Here's what the critics made of it all...
Frey Kwa Hawking, WhatsOnStage
"As Amanda Wingfield, the southern matriarch concerned with the future of her children above all else, Amy Adams is like an irate, bustling dormouse, folding her paws to herself or endlessly fidgeting. This production dials up the fondness for her old-worldly character: her querulously thin voice works, with just how still everything else is. More force would overwhelm things.
"Tom Glynn-Carney is a gravely furious Tom Wingfield, achieving a good sibling rapport with Lizzie Annis as Laura, the painfully shy daughter devoted to her glass collection. Making her West End debut, Annis is quietly effective, giving a full body shudder at the knock at the door of the long-threatened gentleman caller, finding it hard to even look at him when they're sat together on the floor."
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
"Though creating a wistful ambience overall, with melancholy piano and iridescent projected imagery, director Jeremy Herrin divides the role of Tom between Paul Hilton, as the older, authorial version, and his younger self, played by Tom Glynn-Carney. Hilton seems underused, skulking about the vast store-room of a set, lined at its sides with desk lamps and tables, while I wanted more fireworks from the youth; he's supposed to be a furious fledgling poet crushed by menial toil in his St Louis warehouse job, his indignity compounded by being commanded to find a male work-colleague to bring his cocooned, introverted sister out of her shell and ensure she's not left on the shelf."
Clive Davis, The Times
"Since Tennessee Williams steered clear of naturalistic stage directions, Herrin and Vicki Mortimer, the set designer, allow themselves free rein. Laura's cherished collection of glass animals stands in a sleek case that looks as if it belongs in the foyer of a boutique hotel. Ash J Woodward's video projections add punctuation: whenever Amanda's absent husband is mentioned, his image floats into view. Paule Constable's muted lighting is complemented by the washes of music created by Nick Powell. The details are stylishly assembled but they fail to carry the evening."
Tim Bano, The Stage
"Like the older Tom, Herrin seems to keep the play slightly at arm's length. Tom himself admits in his famous opening soliloquy that we're not in for realism, but what comes instead in most Menageries – not least the gorgeous 2017 production directed by John Tiffany – is elegiac and dreamy. We don't expect the awkwardness, the flatness, the repression that we get in Herrin's production.
"Tears seem to perpetually be welling in Adams' eyes, although her Amanda smiles to cover it up. Even when her lines are overbearing, sometimes cruel, she delivers them in a fragile one-note, pitched somewhere between head and chest voice that seems to make her warble. There's a bit of youth left to Adams' Amanda. She isn't just faded but faded before her time. It's all very sad and understated, but it doesn't always land. Some of the great lines feel like missed opportunities."
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
"One of the biggest problems is the size of the stage, which looks vast and works against the intimacy of this story, leaving it feeling unfairly slight. Vicki Mortimer's set is stripped of illusion and has its innards exposed, from the sound system to the spotlights. This is in keeping with the drama's meta-theatricality but renders the stage too starkly naked. The glass menagerie itself is housed in a museum-sized glass vitrine and looks more like one of Damien Hirst's trendy pharmacy cabinets than the collection of dinky glass animals in Williams's text."
Nick Curtis, Evening Standard
"Adams is not bad, just unremarkable in a role that strikes a single, clanging note of hysterical gentility throughout. Amanda exists in a state of brittle desperation, simultaneously cajoling and alienating her children. The part doesn't offer glamour, and Adams misses what dramatic nuance there is to be found in it.
"Though I don't like this play, I can see Herrin's production working in a small, studio setting, where the younger actors would shine. But as a West End star vehicle, it barely passes its MOT."