Tom is both narrator and character in his own play. He takes us to an alley in St. Louis in 1936, when he is in his twenties and living in a crowded apartment with his mother, Amanda, and his sister, Laura. Tom hates his warehouse job and takes refuge in poetry writing and constant trips to the movies. Laura spends her days listening to records her father left behind when he abandoned the family and caring for tiny animal figurines made of glass. Amanda frets about her children's future and, having failed in a bid to get Laura through business school, enlists Tom's aid in finding her a suitable husband. Tom invites Jim O'Connor, a boy he knows from the warehouse, home for dinner. By a strange coincidence Jim turns out to be the one boy Laura had a secret crush on at high school.
On the night of his visit Laura is panic-stricken at first, but Jim's charm manages to calm her, and, left alone for a time, the two strike a tender spark between them. However it's all too late; unbeknownst to Tom, Jim is already engaged to someone else. Tom flees the apartment as his father did years before. As narrator he begs Laura to release him from the burden of guilt he's carried ever since. "Blow out your candles, Laura... And so -- goodbye!"
‘A great play magnificently revived. Everything works gloriously’ - Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph
‘Jessica Lange gives a shatteringly powerful performance. She weaves, quite brilliantly, a magical spell. This is acting of the highest order, a performance that will long ring in the memory. Brilliant’ - Paul Callan, Daily Express
‘Rupert Goold’s enthralling production’ - Susannah Clapp, The Observer
‘Rupert Goold’s dream-struck production finally convinces me this is one of the great plays in the modern American repertoire. Magical’ - Nicholas De Jongh, Evening Standard
‘Our hearts are shattered in one of the most powerful plays in town’ - Mark Shenton, Sunday Express