Los Angeles audiences had a brief opportunity to catch rising Broadway actor Seth Numrich in a local production of the play “Slipping” in April. The 26-year-old actor left the play early so he could begin rehearsals for a revival of Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth” at London’s Old Vic Theatre, with Kim Cattrall.
“Sweet Bird of Youth” officially opened this week and has garnered enthusiastic reviews from London critics. The production is directed by Marianne Elliott, who previously worked with Numrich on the Broadway run of “War Horse.”
Cattrall plays the washed-up movie star Alexandra Del Lago who hooks up with the young drifter Chance Wayne (Numrich), who has ambitions to break into movies. The production marks a return to the London stage for Cattrall, who appeared in a revival of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” at the Young Vic in 2010.
You can see scenes from “Sweet Bird of Youth” in the video trailer below.
The Independent described the new “Sweet Bird” as a “powerful revival,” with Cattrall oscillating “superbly between hard-bitten, grande dame put-downs, hyper-ventilating panic and a certain tender fellow-feeling” toward Wayne.
The Telegraph praised Cattrall, who “is [in] incendiary form here as a raddled but still sexy movie actress.” As her shady boy-toy, Numrich “is equally fine” as his character uses her to his own selfish ends.
A review in the Guardian dismissed Williams’ play as “overheated melodrama” but praised the new production as “first-rate.” Cattrall “conveys the desperation of a woman who knows she is the product of an industry where you’re only as good as your last movie.” Numrich does all he can with his character -- “he looks suitably handsome while conveying the nervous vanity of those who live by their looks.”
The Evening Standard described Numrich’s performance as a “revelation... [he] offers a lovely mix of poise and fragility.” But, despite the strong cast, “this feels like a long journey to reach a pretty obvious destination.”
“Sweet Bird of Youth” runs through Aug. 31 at the Old Vic. The theater company is headed by actor Kevin Spacey.