This production of Tennessee Williams’ early work Spring Storm is, as far as I am aware, the first time students on the MFA Acting (International) from the East 15 Acting School have performed at the Arcola Theatre (the piece is directed by Mehmet Ergen, the Artistic Director at the Arcola). I very much hope that it won’t be the last, as I was incredibly impressed at the talent that was showcased.
The play is set in Port Tyler, Mississippi, in the spring of 1937, and tells the story of Heavenly Critchfield (a superb Kate Kendrick), the girl all the boys desire, who is torn between her love for rebel dreamer Dick Miles (the very good Keethan Krish) and the security offered by rich boy Arthur Shannon (Christer Holtan). In one sense it’s clearly an early work, lacking satisfying character development and foreshadowing Williams’ later masterpieces The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, but it stands up fairly well on its own merits, with more humour and wit than I normally expect to find in one of his works. There is also plenty of heartbreak, particularly for the character of Hertha (an excellent Kaitlin Gould) as well as Heavenly’s spinster aunt, who seems resigned to her fate but whose example is one Heavenly would prefer to avoid.
A strong production by a talented cast: I would be happy to see further productions from the East 15 Acting School.