Sarah Sapperstein’s Maggie the Cat commands your attention with her act one monologues in MadKap Productions’s mounting of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Skokie Theatre, directed by Steve Scott. Sapperstein’s costars take her energy and roll with it for the entirety of this show, in which a southern family unravels (and winds back up again) the lies they’ve told themselves and each other.
Kent Joseph and Caleb Gibson as Big Daddy and Brick, respectively, take the narrative reins in subsequent acts, as Big Daddy tries to get to the bottom of Brick’s alcoholism and the nature of Brick’s relationship with his late buddy Skipper, a relationship that Brick of course hasn’t figured out too well either.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Through 11/20: Fri-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM; also Wed 11/16 1:30 PM, Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln, Skokie, 847-677-7761, skokietheatre.org, $38 ($34 students/seniors)
Joseph exudes Big Daddy’s menace, disgust, and cruelty when he’s both exasperated with his family’s phony birthday and reminding everyone of his control over the family purse strings. But his walls start to crack as he needles Brick more and pokes at truths about both his son and himself. With his character hobbling on one leg throughout the show, Gibson aptly shows us Brick’s sorrow and desire for hiding, seeking solace only in liquor as the long evening unfolds. Add in the delusional Big Mama (Ann James, also excellent) and the schemes of Brick’s brother Gooper (Reid Harrison O’Connell) and sister-in-law Mae (Emilie Yount), and you have all the makings for a sultry, captivating southern evening that will take your mind off the November chill.