GLT play features talented cast

The cast of “Suddenly, Last Summer” shines in the Greenwood Little Theatre’s final production of the 2016-17 season, which debuted Thursday evening.

Directors Eddie Amelung and Will Perkins picked a talented group for the Tennessee Williams play.

“Suddenly, Last Summer” stars Alicia Dallas as Catharine Holly, Cheryl Weiss as Mrs. Violet Venable and Bobby VanDevender as Dr. Cukrowicz.

Entering the stage first are Mrs. Venable and Dr. Cukrowicz setting up the plot. The scene opens with the wealthy Mrs. Venable showing off the garden of her beloved deceased son, Sebastian, to Dr. Cukrowicz, a doctor who is seeking money for his research.

Mrs. Venable points out a Venus flytrap — an attractive, sweet-smelling plant that woos its victims to their doom — in a flower pot in the garden to Dr. Cukrowicz. Audience members will think about this scene by the end of the play.

Mrs. Venable begins to tell Dr. Cukrowicz, or Dr. Sugar as he tells her to call him, about how wonderful her son was and how they were very close.

She tells the doctor about her niece, Catharine Holly, who she says is telling falsehoods about her son and how he died.

Mrs. Venable has Catharine in a mental institution, but she is looking to Dr. Cukrowicz to silence her through a lobotomy.

Weiss’ performance shows the depth of her character, Mrs. Venable — a heartbroken mother mourning the death of her son and a woman who will do anything to keep the reputation of her deceased son intact.

Catharine enters the stage mid-play. The audience immediately can see she is troubled and plagued by flashbacks to last summer, when she and her cousin traveled to Cabeza de Logo, where he died.

Catharine describes Sebastian differently than her aunt, which angers Mrs. Venable.

Dallas’ performance as Catharine Holly is spellbinding. Her talent as an actress is on full display in “Suddenly, Last Summer.” With her 1930s Southern Belle accent, Dallas dazzles in the role.

VanDevender’s performance as Dr. Cukrowicz is flawless, as his character supports the two leading ladies.

VanDevender leaves the audience guessing whether Dr. Cukrowicz is a doctor who will do anything to get money from Mrs. Venable for his research or a healer there to help Catharine overcome a traumatic event.

Supporting cast members include Cheryl Thornhill as Miss Foxhill, who is making her Greenwood Little Theatre debut; Freda MacIntosh as Mrs. Holly; Marvin Haley as George Holly; and Gwendolyn Riley as Sister Felicity.

The Hollys add another layer to play. Catharine’s mother and brother both want her to suppress her memories of Sebastian in order to receive a $100,000 inheritance.

The play features several beautifully written monologues — some emotional, some symbolic, some foreshadowing.

Half of the play is dominated by speeches by Weiss and the other half by Dallas.

Both Weiss and Dallas seamlessly deliver the speeches with emotion.

A highlight from the play is Weiss’ monologue about her recalling a time she and Sebastian were at the Galapagos Islands. The story is also foreshadowing.

The final moments of the play feature a drug-induced narration of the events leading up to Sebastian’s demise. Watching Dallas deliver the monologue is mesmerizing.

Another highlight from the play is the beautiful set, decorated with an abundance of plants and flowers with patio furniture, taking the audience to the New Orleans Garden District in the 1930s.

The one-act play runs about an hour and 20 minutes.

“Suddenly, Last Summer” deals with adult subject matter, and parental guidance is suggested.

The show is free for current Greenwood Little Theatre members. Tickets for non-members cost $10 for students (age 21 and younger) and $15 for adults. Visit greenwoodlittletheatre.com or call or text (662) 947-1075 to reserve seats.

Alicia Dallas