Cast on a Hot Tin Roof | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Cast on a Hot Tin Roof


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CAST ON A HOT TIN ROOF, Noble Fool Theater Company. "The play Tennessee Williams forgot to write," as this improv company calls it, has sacrificed a few IQ points in its move downtown. But the concept originated in 1991 by the Free Associates--a fully improvised one-act in Williams's style--remains intact in this revival by the Noble Fool Theater Company, creators of the long-running Flanagan's Wake.

On opening night the plot--based on audience suggestions--revolved around Buford and his longing for a career in opera, Sarsaparilla (called "Sassie") and her shameful thumb-sucking habit, and stepuncle Irving, whose repressed homosexuality (an integral part of all Williams's plays) is circumvented by the southern-belle driver of a bus named "Lust."

Though this version, directed by Jimmy Binns, relies more heavily than its literate prototype on broad characterizations and one-liners, the ensemble develops the story's absurd premises with appropriate solemnity. Indeed, Lynda Shadrake and Lydia Berger made poor Sassie's agonized embarrassment downright poignant. These players are a bright bunch who need only to trust their audiences to be the same.

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