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
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

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.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.