I reviewed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in this morning’s Wall Street Journal. Here’s how it starts:
Ashley Judd. Jason Patric. Ned Beatty. Tennessee Williams. What’s wrong with this picture? Plenty, as you’ll learn if you visit the new Broadway revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” which opened Sunday at the Music Box. But there’s nothing even slightly wrong with Mr. Beatty, who breathes fire as Big Daddy. He is as exciting as Ms. Judd and Mr. Patric are dull–and as fresh as Williams’ play is stale….
Unlike most camera-pampered Hollywood types, Mr. Beatty knows what to do in front of a live audience. His beautifully placed bass-baritone voice, complete with bottled-in-bond Kentucky accent, bounces effortlessly off the back wall of the Music Box. Though he’s the shortest man in the cast, he turns his modest stature into a towering advantage, playing Williams’ wealthy plantation owner as a shrewd, scrappy underdog who chewed his way to the top of the heap and now revels in making taller people look small. You’ll gasp when he first totters on stage, seemingly wan and yellow from the cancer that is eating Big Daddy alive–and you’ll gasp again when he breaks into a maniacal jig to celebrate the news that he isn’t dying after all. But his hope is false, and as he faces the inescapable fact of his imminent demise, Mr. Beatty seems to grow a foot or two before your astonished eyes. Such are the mysterious ways of great actors, and this is great acting.
What to do? Easy:
(1) Extract one dollar from your wallet.
(2) Take it to the nearest newsstand and purchase a copy of this morning’s Journal.
(3) Turn to the “Weekend Journal” section, over whose first page I’m plastered.
(4) Read the whole section, not just my review.
(5) Report back at once.