AFTER a lean 18 months with little live entertainment, Cape Town audiences are in for a rare, Covid-safe-and-compliant treat as The Vineyard welcomes back its popular Hotel Plays. The 2021 season will feature a special tribute to the life and legacy of Tennessee Williams, who would have celebrated his 110th birthday this year.
The Restaurant at The Vineyard will be transformed into a socially distanced Tennessee Williams wonderland where patrons can enjoy the playwright’s best-loved scenes and songs while enjoying a Williams-inspired menu of amuse-bouche dishes and cocktails.
The programme, titled Tennessee Williams: The Blue Piano/The Blue Guitar is a celebration of Williams’s most beautiful and haunting words, presented by Abrahamse & Meyer Productions and Tally Ho! Productions. Expect extracts from The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Summer and Smoke, Camino Real and Orpheus Descending with unforgettable standards from the Great American Songbook, such as It’s Only A Paper Moon, On A Slow Boat to China and You’re the Only Star in My Blue Heaven, alongside haunting Mexican canciones like La Golondrina and Noche De Ronda.
The production is directed by leading Williams director Fred Abrahamse with musical direction, arrangements and accompaniment by Jaco Griessel. The cast includes Matthew Baldwin who took the part of Tom in an award-winning 2019 revival of The Glass Menagerie. Baldwin will play a young Tennessee Williams, hosting the evening and linking the various scenes with relevant extracts from Williams’s amusing Memoirs.
Sought-after vocalist Zoë McLaughlin, who was nominated for the Most Promising Student Fleur du Cap, will take on the bulk of Williams’s famous heroines, like Blanche Dubois and Miss Alma. Rounding out the cast is Marcel Meyer playing hustler heroes like Val Xavier and Kilroy. Meyer is no stranger to the Williams canon, having played several leading Williams roles on stages across South Africa and the USA; most recently, an award-nominated performance as The Gentleman Caller in The Glass Menagerie and a critically acclaimed interpretation of Reverend Shannon in The Night of the Iguana in the USA.
The Vineyard, in partnership with Abrahamse & Meyer Productions, has staged immersive productions of Williams’s plays since 2016, including the inaugural double-bill of Green Eyes and Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen in adjoining hotel suites; the 2017 mad-cap antics of The Remarkable Rooming-House of Madame Le Monde and A Perfect Analysis Given By A Parrot; and the haunting 2019 Japanese-inspired fantasia, In the Bar of A Tokyo Hotel.
The Tennessee Williams: The Blue Piano/The Blue Guitar runs Fridays and Saturdays, with Sunday matinees, from September 24 to October 1o, 2021 . Seating will be restricted to comply with social distancing requirements, so tickets are limited. For more information, click here, and for bookings, email [email protected] or call 021 657 4500.