THE ROSE TATTOO
Playhouse Theatre, London WC2
Opened 11 June, 1991

When a play ends with a chorus of black-clad Mediterranean women, you don't expect them to be rejoicing; but that's the case in Tennessee Williams' Lorca-in-reverse tale, when the widow Serafina finally emerges from her misplaced mourning on discovering that to be crassly reductive all she really needed was a good shag.  Once again Peter Hall achieves an unsettling mix of minutely observed details and blatant theatrical gestures; among the latter must be counted Stephen Edwards' often jarringly obtrusive score.

Julie Walters is at her best when resisting the temptation to be Julie Walters: her jerkier moves and grimaces cheat us of a potential performance of considerable power and sensuality. One clings to mistaken notions that Williams shouldn't be this funny, but this play works through laughter of affirmation, and on that count Hall's production must be adjudged a success.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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