Summer and Smoke

Previewed 11 October 2006, Opened 18 October 2006, Closed 25 November 2006 at the Apollo Theatre in London

A major revival of Tennessee Williams' classic 1948 drama Summer and Smoke in London starring Rosamund Pike and Chris Carmack and directed by Adrian Noble

Set in the small insular town of Glorious Hill, Mississippi, in America's Deep South during 1916, Summer and Smoke is a gripping story of smouldering attraction, miscommunication and repressed passion. It is here that Alma Winemiller, a proper young Southern belle, has long adored John, the charismatic but dissolute son of her neighbour and the town's respected doctor. As the drama unfolds in this tale of longing and unrequited love, lives are changed in a way that none of those involved could ever have predicted.

The cast features Rosamund Pike as 'Alma Winemiller' and Chris Carmack as 'John Buchanan Jr.' with Sebastian Abineri as 'Papa Gonzales', Michael Brown 'Dusty / Vernon / Archie Kramer', Angela Down 'Mrs Winemiller', David Killick 'Dr Buchanan', Tom Lawrence 'Roger Doremus', Kate O'Toole 'Mrs Bassett', Christopher Ravenscroft 'Rev Winemiller', Talulah Riley 'Nellie', Hanne Steen 'Rosa' and Hannah Stokely 'Pearl / Rosemary'. It is directed by Adrian Nobel with set designs by PeterMcKintosh, costumes by Deirdre Clancy, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by John Leonard. Rosamund Pike was last seen on stage in London in Hitchcock Blonde for which she received outstanding critical acclaim, she also appeared in the film James Bond - Die Another Day. Chris Carmack is best known for his role as 'Luke' in the hit American television series The OC. He has recently appeared off Broadway in Entertaining Mr Sloane.

"Be honest with me. One time I said 'no' to something. You may remember the time, and all that demented howling from the cock-fight. But now I have changed my mind, or the girl who said 'no', she doesn't exist anymore, she died last summer - suffocated in smoke from something on fire inside her. No, she doesn't live now, but she left me her ring - You see? This one you admired, the topaz ring set in pearls... And she said to me when she slipped the ring on my finger - 'Remember I died empty-handed, and so make sure that your hands have something in them!" I said, 'But what about pride?' - She said, 'Forget about pride whenever it stands between you and what you must have!' And then I said, 'But what if he doesn't want me?' I don't know what she said then. I'm not sure whether she said anything or not - her lips stopped moving - yes, I think she stopped breathing."

"All of the building blocks of a great Williams play are here: the sultry setting of the Deep South; a tortured relationship; vast deserts of repression; and meaty slabs of self-destructive manhood. But Williams fails to whip these up into a tumult of passion and poetry, and by the end, as he dots and crosses every thematic 'i' and 't', it's just exhausting." The Sunday Telegraph

"Tennessee Williams's Summer And Smoke is a bit of a slow burn, but Adrian Noble's beautiful, absorbing production - the first ever to be staged in this country - boasts two scorching performances which keeps it at a very satisfying simmer. This, like so much of Williams's work, is the story of doomed passion between apparent opposites. Alma is the virginal and superficially prudish daughter of a church minister; John, by contrast, is concerned with matters more physical. Sensual and dissolute, his indolent medical studies tend to involve practical sessions with a hooker. Played with tremendous sensitivity and intelligence by a radiantly lovely Rosamund Pike, Alma does not, as John contemptuously suggests, think that she is 'stuffed with rose leaves'. Pike's Alma is a complex woman, aware of the fact that she has been robbed of her youth by having to cope with her demented mother and conscious that her repressed passion is slowly suffocating her. Chris Carmack, too, brings much more than considerable sex appeal to John. Carmack's John is a man who chooses to deny the existence of his soul until too late." The Mail on Sunday

Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke was first performed in America at the Music Box theatre in Chicago in 1948. The play was then revived off Broadway. Summer and Smoke was first seen in the UK in 1951 when it was staged at The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. It was made into a film in 1961 starring Geraldine Page, Laurence Harvey and Rita Moreno which was nominated for four Academy Awards.

Summer and Smoke in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 11 October 2006, opened on 18 October 2006 and closed on 25 November 2006