Sweet Bird of Youth

Previewed 1 June 2013, Opened 12 June 2013, Closed 31 August 2013 at the Old Vic Theatre in London

A major revival of Tennessee Williams's classic play Sweet Bird of Youth in London starring Kim Cattrall and directed by Marianne Elliott.

Fleeing the disastrous premiere of her comeback film, Hollywood legend Alexandra Del Lago, ravaged by bitterness of failre and despair, travels incognito as the Princess Kosmonopolis seeking refuge in drink, drugs and the arms of Chance Wayne, an idealistic young dreamer turned gigiolo and hellbent on achieving his own movie stardom. But a trip to Chance's hometown in a bid to win back his childhood sweetheart sees their relationship of convenience unravel in Williams's vivid and haunting portrait of the destruction of dreams.

The cast for Sweet Bird of Youth in London features Kim Cattrall as 'Alexandra Del Lago' and Seth Numrich as 'Chance Wayne'. The production is directed by Marianne Elliott.

"Marianne Elliott's atmospheric, superbly staged revival of Sweet Bird Of Youth, Tennessee Williams's play about winners and losers, about the ravages of time and wretchedness of disenchantment, set in the segregated Deep South of America in the 1950s. Kim Cattrall is in command as Del Lago. Not quite raddled enough perhaps, and glowing and glamorous beneath the smeared make-up, she can be imperious, dry and hot, but also surprisingly sweet and sympathetic. In Chance she recognises a fellow monster, if an inferior one, also feeling increasingly vulnerable since the sweet bird of youth flew away. American actor Seth Numrich is good as Chance, a shallow chancer who has too little depth or real charm to be interesting... Designer Rae Smith manages spectacular scene changes with just a whisk of a curtain, imposing a fluency in an otherwise uneven play. Sweet Bird Of Youth is well worth seeing, but it's not vintage Williams." The Mail on Sunday

"At 56, Kim Cattrall has intimated that she considers herself to be too young to play Alexandra Del Lago, the 'cougar' who has her claws into a hunk essayed by Seth Numrich in Sweet Bird of Youth. A mere three decades come between her and her costar, but, as ungentlemanly as it may sound, I have to say she looks perfectly believable in the role. Whether the Sex and the City star manages to get under the skin of the film actress, who is unable to come to terms with the passage of time, I am not so sure... The laughter from the punters at Tuesday night's performance ought to have alarmed all concerned: this is Tennessee Williams's tragedy being played out as Terry and June. It is true that some of the lines are mildly amusing, but there is supposed to be a bitter edge to them that neither of the principals could communicate... A Tennessee Williams play, if it is done properly, ought to shock, but on this basis, the director Marianne Elliott fails dismally." The Sunday Telegraph

"Seth Numrich, here making his impressive debut on the London stage, doesn't put a foot wrong as Chance... [Kim Cattrall] too, is utterly convincing as Del Lago, currently going under the ludicrous moniker of the Princess Kosmonopolis, also popping pills, slurping liquor and, in extremis, putting on a mask and sucking on an oxygen bottle... Sweet Bird of Youth was originally two separate pieces, and here it's all too clear, despite the playwright's skilful stitching. The ageing vamp/toyboy story never grips as much as the second plot, when things get all steamy and Southern and properly Williams... Melodramatic, yes, but gripping... The lighting and design don't really honour Williams's own stage directions for something more bright and animated, instead giving us a grandiose but gloomy look to match the solemnity of Elliott's production... a finely acted but rather uncertain production." The Sunday Times

Kim Cattrall is best known for playing 'Samantha Jones' in the hit TV series Sex and the City including the two spin-off movies. She made her British Theatre debut in an updated version of Brian Clark's Whose Life is it Anyway? directed by Peter Hall (Harold Pinter Theatre 2005). Since then her other London theatre credits include Noel Coward's Private Lives with Matthew Macfadyen and directed by Richard Eyre (Vaudeville Theatre 2010).

Marianne Elliott's London stage directing credits include Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time featuring Luke Treadaway (National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre 2012, transferred Apollo Theatre 2013), Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, co-directed with Tom Morris (National Theatre's Olivier Theatre 2007, transferred New London Theatre 2009 and Henrik Ibsen's Pillars of the Community featuring Lesley Manville, Damian Lewis and Una Stubbs (National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre 2006).

Sweet Bird of Youth in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 1 June 2013, opened on 12 June 2013 and closed on 31 August 2013.