I went to see this Tennessee Williams double bill at RADA, performed by students in the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre. The two plays were originally performed together, opening in 1958 as a two-part production entitled Garden District.
The first piece, Something Unspoken, is one I’ve seen before and is about a woman and her companion and their complex relationship. Featuring only two actors, it was very well performed.
The other play, Suddenly Last Summer, is a longer, more complex tale. Mrs Venable’s son Sebastian died tragically last summer, but she refuses to believe her niece’s (who was with him in Spain) account of events. Catharine is brought to her aunt’s home from the asylum in which she is staying in order to go over things one last time. Despite the threat of a longer incarceration hanging over her, she continues to insist on the truth of her story.
It’s a powerful piece with some very strong performances and familiar Williams themes: the relationship between mothers and sons, mental illness, homosexuality. A memorable production by the students at RADA.