Review On Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Writer, Registered Critic


What could be a better choice to inaugurate Antaeus Theatre's sparkling new two-theater complex than Tennessee Williams' masterwork Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, especially directed by Cameron Watson, who has envisioned an amazing retelling of the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. And if there is any reason not to miss this exceptional revival, it is the indelibly memorable work of Harry Groener and Dawn Didawick as dying Pollitt patriarch Big Daddy and his long-suffering spouse Big Mama that is the heart of this production. This real-life man-and-wife team could become recognized as the millennium's west coast Lunt and Fontaine or Cronyn and Tandy from their turns in these difficult roles. Nowhere in Williams' prolific stable of screwed-up characters, is there a role with such insurmountable acting traps written into it as Big Daddy. Anyone playing this role seems to fall headfirst into the rhythms and natural bigness of Burl Ives, who undoubtedly will be forevermore identified with the character. Still, instead of shouting gruffly and chomping on a huge cigar, the not-so-big Groener starts so gently and unobtrusively that when his rage emerges, his performance is revelatory. Hats off to a brilliant actor and his equally brilliant director for reinventing Big Daddy Pollitt anew. It's a humbling honor to see such fine work unfold live right before one's eyes.

Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA
TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER is Opinionatedasswipe-in-Chief for the new handydandy arts-oriented website TicketHoldersLA.com. He has been a LA theatre critic since 1987 and has taught acting at the New York Film Academy’s west coast campus since 2010. He was Theatre Editor for Entertainment Today for 21 years, reviewed for BackStage for 12 years, and is also currently a contributor to ArtsInLA.com. As a writer, five of his plays have been produced in LA and his first, "Surprise Surprise," became a feature film in 2010, for which Travis wrote the screenplay and appeared in a leading role. An actor since childhood who originally came to LA under contract to Paramount Pictures, he has appeared in six Broadway productions and has traveled extensively in everything from "Bye Bye Birdie," "Hair," and throughout Europe and Asia in "Hello Dolly" to touring as Amos (Mr. Cellophane) Hart in "Chicago." Locally, Travis received the LA Drama Critics’ Circle Award as Kenneth Halliwell in the west coast premiere of "Nasty Little Secrets," a Drama-Logue Award as Lennie in "Of Mice and Men," and he has also received six acting nominations from LA Weekly; a Sage Award; Ovation, GLAAD, NAACP, and five Garland Award nominations. Regionally, he was given the Inland Theatre League Award as Ken Talley in "Fifth of July," three awards for direction and performance as Dr. Dysart in "Equus," and he was up for Washington, DC’s Helen Hayes honors as Oscar Wilde in the premiere of "Oscar & Speranza." His first novel "Waiting for Walk," a memoir of growing up as a child actor, has been sitting in a desk drawer since its completion in 2005, proving there is often a deep divide between talent and functionality. www.travismichaelholder.coms