Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is perhaps one of his most personal, diving into the complex undercurrents of sexuality that peppered his own life as well as the dynamics of illness and dysfunction in a family.
The latest incarnation of his work opened last night at the Richard Rogers Theatre for its sixth Broadway revival. All eyes have been on Scarlett Johansson as “Maggie” but the bigger question prevails: How many lives does this cat have? Apparently not as many as one would hope according to the critics. Here’s what they have to say:
“Ms. Johansson is also the only major player in “Cat” who appears to have a fully thought-through idea of the character she’s portraying. With a palatial bedroom of a set by Christopher Oram and vivid period costumes by Julie Weiss, the show is as light on persuasive acting as it is saturated in Southern Gothic atmosphere.” The New York Times
“One can discern this Maggie’s unhappiness — Johansson is in an energetic rage throughout — but not the vulnerability that causes a woman who well knows she is beautiful to throw off her very dignity and, well, beg for attention. Hardly walking on scorching tin, this Maggie doesn’t really seem to need anything from anyone; you don’t believe that any of those around her could stop her present trajectory, which feels entirely of her own design.” Chicago Tribune
“Somebody spayed the cat. And it wasn’t the hard-working main attraction Scarlett Johansson, who plays Tennessee Williams’ tenacious feline title character in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The star and her similarly marooned fellow cast members are all at the mercy of Rob Ashford, a director out of his depth and reaching for any floatation device he can grab in this sinking Broadway revival, which manages to be both thunderously emphatic and curiously flat.” Hollywood Reporter
“Fireworks light up the night sky during Big Daddy’s birthday party in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” That’s it for the sparks, unfortunately. Broadway’s starry but misguided new take on Tennessee Williams’ 1955 Pulitzer winner about secrets, lies and love is a dim and soggy affair.” Daily News