Tennessee Williams’s plays are claustrophobic as it is. But squeeze them, and the audience, into a hotel room and they’re deadly. Defibrillator’s site-specific ‘The Hotel Plays’ are back, only they’ve upgraded their reservation to the swanky Langham. This glamorous but imposing venue is the ideal location for this trio of stifling shorts.
Designer James Turner has expertly crafted an evocative vibe for each room. The first, ‘The Pink Bedroom’, is so pink it even smells of the colour; the stench of curdled romance hangs in the air. A bed is lit up by a huge spotlight, as Man (Gyuri Sarossy) and Woman (Helen George) play out the end of their affair. Sarossy and George pitch their performances perfectly, stretching their pain until it becomes warped and weirdly amusing.
‘Green Eyes’ unfolds in a room bathed in half-light, where dreams and reality merge. Aisling Loftus (of ‘Mr Selfridge’ fame) is outstanding as the husband-bating Girl, who wills her soldier husband (Gethin Anthony) to lash out. The audience is trapped in the dark space between this unhappy couple, and their provocations feel dangerous and real.
Completing a damn impressive ensemble cast is Carol Macready as retired actress Miss Sails in Williams’s acidly amusing ‘Sunburst’. This final room is sunken and soft with old age, the bed piled high with pillows. But there’s a sharp twist, as Miss Sails’s cosy room becomes the site of an overnight siege. Macready owns the role and room completely: it’s an honour to share it with her.