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Following a critically acclaimed, sold-out run at the Almeida Theatre, Rebecca Frecknall’s ‘shiveringly beautiful production’ (The Sunday Times) of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke transfers to the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.
Trapped between desire and a life of obligation, Alma meets John and her world turns upside down. With ‘spellbinding, stripped-back staging’ (Financial Times), this intoxicating classic about love, loneliness and self-destruction evokes the simmering passions of a sweltering summer in small-town Mississippi.
‘Patsy Ferran is a genuine marvel’ as Alma (Independent) and Matthew Needham ’fires up the stage’ (The Times) as John in this ‘unmissable Tennessee Williams revival’ (The Telegraph). This innovative and ‘exquisite, poignant production’ (Financial Times) ‘announces ‘Frecknall as a director of real vision‘ (Independent).
Set in a small town in Mississippi in 1916, Alma Winemiller (the minister’s daughter) has grown up loving the boy next door. When her childhood sweetheart, John Buchanan Jr, returns home from medical school, she hopes to become reacquainted. A wild and mischievous hedonist, John spends the hot summer nights drinking, gambling, and romancing. Conversely, Alma is quiet, reserved, and eager to hold on to her strong moral standards. Despite their differences, John and Alma are drawn to each other. Yet amid the collection of pianos onstage, the violent outbursts and rising tension disrupt any moments of harmony. When Alma discovers that John has been with another woman, the true heartbreaking nature of Tennessee Williams’s story is revealed.
After a sold-out run at the Almeida Theatre, this five-star production of “Summer and Smoke” transfers to the West End for a strictly limited season. Directed by Rebecca Frecknall, this poignant play about loneliness, love, and desire stars Patsy Ferran and Matthew Needham.
The 1948 Broadway production won a Tony Award for Scenic Design in 1949.
The play found wide critical favour in the 1952 Off-Broadway revival with Geraldine Page, who subsequently re-created the role of Alma in Peter Glenville’s 1961 film version.
Alma was one of the characters Tennessee Williams loved the most. Of all his characters, he believed she articulated his thoughts best.
The first professional show Rebecca Frecknall directed was a production of “Summer and Smoke” at the Southwark Playhouse in 2012. Her second interpretation of the show premiered at the Almeida Theatre in 2018, before transferring to the West End.
The play’s original title was “Chart of Anatomy,” with the revised title “Summer and Smoke” thought to have been derived from a poem by Hart Crane.
2 hrs 40 min (incl. interval)
November 10th, 2018
January 19th, 2019
Duke of York's Theatre
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