Star quality for Company of Ten at St Albans’ Abbey Theatre

Suddenly Last Summer

Suddenly Last Summer - Credit: Archant

IN the past few years a new star has appeared on the local stage, lifting every performance she appears in.

And in the key role of Catharine Holly in the Company of Ten’s current production of Suddenly Last Summer, Lucy Crick demonstrates once again why any local theatre company who can sign her up for a role should seize the opportunity.

She is an actress with a great range and the ability to give her all in whatever part she plays whether audiences are large or small.

The role of Catharine is no easy one. It involves a long soliloquy which gets to the heart of the Tennessee Williams play before its rather abrupt ending.

Lucy imbues Catharine with a huge range of emotions and when, at the denouement, she gives her version of what led up to the death of her cousin Sebastian, the atmosphere in the Abbey Theatre Studio was electric. Only a handful of local actors can do that.

Lucy’s performance aside, Brian Stewart’s production of the little-performed Suddenly Last Summer is extremely good. It captures Williams’ Deep South and works well set in the 1950s which it has been moved forward to because one of the main issues is that of lobotomy which was a popular procedure at the time.

Set in a garden – the Studio cleverly transformed into a mini-Eden – it opens strongly with the first meeting between Mrs Venable, mother of the aforementioned Sebastian, and Dr Cukrowicz aka Dr Sugar.

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Margaret Metcalf is also excellent in the role of the elderly, frail Mrs Venable who has a shaft of steel running through her. She too has a demanding role as she outlines her maternal view of Sebastian to Andrew Margerison’s doctor in a long soliloquy in an American accent.

Rosemary Goodman as Mrs Holly and Lee Harris as her gauche son George are well cast while in a minor role, I loved Jane Fookes as the obsequious Miss Foxhill who is at the formidable Mrs Venable’s beck and call, never knowing how her employer is going to react to any interruption.

Suddenly Last Summer is one of those plays which is perfectly suited to the Studio with its close proximity of actors to the audience. See it for Lucy Crick’s performance if nothing else.

It runs until Saturday and tickets are available from the box office on 01727 857861 or go to