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New Era Players

The New Era web site is at www.neweraplayers.org. Twitter @NewEraPlayers or Facebook.

Last production

Where

New Era Theatre, Wash Common, Newbury RG14 6NU.

Box office

07919 916009 or email .

Review of The Glass Menagerie

4th to 24th March 2018

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Playing on the memory

A striking production of Tennessee Williams' first success

New Era Players: The Glass Menagerie, at New Era Theatre, Wash Common, on Thursday, March 15, to Saturday, March 17, and Tuesday, March 20, to Saturday, March 24

This play, set in 1937 and Tennessee Williams' first big success, is the story of Tom Wingfield. who, having got away from the stifling atmosphere of his family, cannot escape the guilt of leaving his mother and abandoning his disabled sister – much like the author's own situation.

His family, like the characters in the play, left the hospitality of the South and moved to a shabby apartment in St Louis. His sister, two years older than him, was unable to face up to life, retreating into a world in which she kept small glass animals.

The storyline follows the mother's attempt to acquire a 'gentleman caller' for her daughter and brother Tom's efforts to help by bringing along work colleague Jim, who he knew at school and admired for his athletic prowess. His description of Jim at the start of Act 2 has undertones of what Oscar Wilde called 'the love that dare not speak its name' (although not as blatant as the speech by Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire about her young, dead husband).

Had Williams lived through a more enlightened age his plays might have been very different. The emphasis in this play, however, is mainly directed at the young man's desire to break away from home and make a life for himself, along with sister Laura's plight and what happens when Jim is invited to the apartment for dinner.

The production began with Ronan Hatfull as Tom, introducing his memories from a fire escape at the side of the main set. He gave a measured performance, bringing out both the intensity and caring side of the character.

Lisa Mounteer-Watson gave a strong interpretation of his mother Amanda, a brash, verbose, but considerate woman, anxious only for the best for her offspring. Her accent, like those of her fellow players, was accurate throughout.

Emily Beck was totally believable as Laura – shy, nervous and retiring, but wanting, deep down, to make contact with somebody.

Patrick Lintin played Jim O'Connor as a confident, rather self-obsessed young man who tries to help Laura with his enthusiasm and vitality

Visually this production was striking; the fine set, the carefully-placed lighting – from day to night, to just candles in the power failure at the end – all helped create a genuine atmosphere. The acting throughout was faultless and the pace of the play moved along slowly and inevitably, as it should. Director Janet Bennett did very well to co-ordinate all the various aspects of this complex play into one, continuous, seamless performance.

DEREK ANSELL

About New Era

This small, friendly and very successful theatre group was established in Newbury in 1978, and we are lucky enough to have our own small theatre in Wash Common. (click here for a map). We produce several plays each year covering a wide variety of theatrical styles.

New Players Acting Membership

Share the experience of performing on stage; join the challenge of set-building or the creativity of costume design; enjoy the teamwork in whatever direction your talents take you. You could be an active participant in our future productions, or join us for play readings, workshops, theatre outings and a variety of social events. Whether you are experienced or just have bags of enthusiasm, you can be assured of a warm welcome.

If you are interested in becoming an acting member please email our membership coordinator at the address .

Audience Membership

To book tickets for any of our productions, please contact our Box Office on 07919 916009 for more information.

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