Cracks in ‘The Glass Menagerie’

From left, Zachary Quinto, Cherry Jones, Brian J. Smith and Celia Keenan-Bolger star in “The Glass Menagerie.” (CREDIT: Michael J. Lutch)
From left, Zachary Quinto, Cherry Jones, Brian J. Smith and Celia Keenan-Bolger star in “The Glass Menagerie.”
(CREDIT: Michael J. Lutch)

Despite an astonishing performance by Cherry Jones and a cast that includes Hollywood commodity Zachary Quinto, the American Repertory Theater Company’s “The Glass Menagerie” lacks the emotional punch Tennessee Williams intended.

Williams’ lyrical words should move you to tears as you watch the bleak plight of the Depression-era Winfield family. Instead, an overly-choreographed, heavy-handed production leaves you feeling distracted rather than invested in what could be a gut-wrenching ride.

A plethora of small choices make you wonder why more of this “memory play” isn’t left to your imagination. There’s strange hand-gesturing by the family, an oddly-placed crescent moon and a “Menagerie” of only one.

A key moment of dramatic tension comes in the first act when Tom (Quinto) throws his coat and accidentally knocks over Laura’s glass collection. At this performance, the coat did not come close enough to do any damage, eliminating the need for Laura to grapple with the dilemma of her beloved brother destroying the thing she loves most.

Quinto also misses the mark with the gay subtext of Tom’s storyline. His overly-feminized mannerisms and blatant physical attraction to the Gentleman Caller are not subtle enough to introduce a necessary sense of intrigue. As the Gentleman Caller, however, Brian J. Smith lights up the stage and compensates for many of the production’s shortcomings. Cecilia Keenan-Bolger also fares well, capturing the emotional pain of Laura, but the inconsistency of her virtually non-existent limp is troubling.

In the end, the reason to see “The Glass Menagerie” is Jones’ tour de force performance. The Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress (who is also a founding member of the A.R.T.) is simply magnificent as Amanda, the faded Southern belle who never gives up on her dream.

‘The Glass Menagerie’
Through March 17
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle St., Cambridge
$25-$65, 617-547-8300
www.amrep.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.