David Ferry weathers a storm of passion at Hart House Theatre
Written by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Jermey Hutton
Kelly Bolt as Hannah Jelkes and David Ferry as Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon.
Tennessee Williams’ The Night of The Iguana brings the heat this month in a soulful new production at Hart House Theatre. The play—which premiered on Broadway in 1961 and was later made into a 1964 film starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner—is inspired by Williams’ personal experience at a small hotel on the west coast of Mexico in the summer of 1940.
The story centers around Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon (David Ferry), a troubled ex-minister turned travel guide who is accused of committing statutory rape with a sixteen-year-old girl—Charlotte Goodall (Kathryn Alexandre)—from his tour group. Tortured by the young woman and her controlling guardian, Miss Judith Fellowes (Lada Darewych), he throws himself at the mercy of Maxine Fauk (Allegra Fulton), a recently widowed hotel owner looking for companionship.
They are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Hannah Jelkes (Kelly Bolt), a travelling painter, and her 97-year-old grandfather “Nonno” (Peter Higginson), an ailing poet working on his last piece. Add a group of boisterous German tourists (played by David J. Phillips, Krista Hovsepian, Linzee Barclay and Chris George), a couple of cabana boys (Paul Silvestri and Joeseph Recinos), and an iguana to the mix and you have yourself a captivating tropical drama. Regrets surface, jealous tempers flare and nerves breakdown as these very different characters form an unlikely bond by the beach, and their lives begin anew.
Featuring a sunset-soaked set by Scott Penner, airy costumes by Melanie McNeill and electric lighting design by Dominic Manca, The Night of the Iguana is a touching, and surprisingly funny, exploration of human relationships. The cast does a fine job under director Jeremy Hutton, putting a fresh spin on this classic story of spiritual healing.
The Night of the Iguana is on stage now until March 10 at Hart House Theatre. Visit harthouse.ca for more information and to buy tickets.