Amy Adams’ West End Debut Earns Mixed Reviews

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Photo: BBC

Amy Adams makes her West End debut in Tennessee Williams’s Glass Menagerie, earning mixed reviews from critics. 

The Telegraph said Adams was “clear, simple, believable, and quietly heartbreaking” in the play. 

But others indicate opposite feedback. For example, the Evening Standard called her performance “muted and unconvincing.” 

Her recent movies, such as The Woman in the Window, Hillbilly Elegy, and Dear Evan Hansen, have been met with not-so-positive feedback from both critics and fans.

Many critics have noted that following the opening of Glass Menagerie, Adams’ performance has pushed her to new heights.

Dominic Cavendish of The Telegraph added, “What Adams catches in her determined radiance and subtle gestures is the female equivalent of Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman: someone going through the motion of coping but in dire need of some good news.” 

With the show’s three-star review from Cavendish, we can see that he was not entirely impressed with other production elements. The sound and set design were less effective, and some characters underwhelmed him in their performance.

“The casting of the Hollywood luminary Amy Adams… may be the main selling point. Whether the gambit works is another matter,” The Times’ Clive Davis said, awarding the Glass Menagerie three stars. 

“All praise to Adams, nevertheless, for taking on a role that has tested many an actress.” 

He added, “Since Williams steered clear of naturalistic stage directions, Herrin and Vicki Mortimer, the set designer, allowed themselves free rein,” pointing out the production. 

“Laura’s cherished collection of glass animals stands in a sleek case that looks as if it belongs in the foyer of a boutique hotel. Ash J Woodward’s video projections add punctuation.” 

“The details are stylishly assembled,” he concluded, “but they fail to carry the evening.” 

Adams “makes a muted and unconvincing West End debut,” said Nick Curtis of The Evening Standard in a two-star review, further stating that she is “often indistinct, somewhat phony and offstage for a large chunk of the action.” 

“She’s not bad, just unremarkable in a role that strikes a single, clanging note of hysterical gentility throughout.” 

He further said: “Herrin’s version takes place on an almost bare stage tinged – by designer Vicki Mortimer – with arc lights, reel-to-reel tapedecks and chairs, and crowned by a giant video screen on which flickering colors are cast.

“It’s intended to evoke Williams’ vision of a dream-like setting. Unfortunately, the monolithic and well-lit vitrine which contains Laura’s laboriously symbolic menagerie of glass animals and which dominates the stage resembles a boutique perfume counter.”