by Marcus Kalipolites
Laura may be a crippled and shy young lady and mother Amanda may live the fantasy of being a sought-after
Southern belle who boasts about past gentlemen callers, but it falls on Tom to provide for this dysfunctional
family during the Great Depression. And so it is, that in playing the $65-a-month warehouse worker Tom, as
played by Bill Edwards, not only escapes his mother’s constant criticism by going to the movies but, in the
end, he imitates his father’s decision to desert the family as well. In Wednesday night’s performance, Edwards
displayed commanding presence in capturing every nuance of his character’s various moods.

While his taxed-to-the-limit character exhibits hate for a carping mother, an altogether different Tom shows
empathy for Laura. Sibling affection finds the two of them cheerfully sharing the re-creation of a magician’s
kerchief trick. In returning the favor, Laura lovingly tucks a drunken Tom in bed.

Looming large in the mind of Edwards’ character is the prospect of adventure. Fueled by movie addiction, he
“bubbles on the inside” to live a different life. Tom tells this to fellow worker and dinner guest Jim O’Connor —
who has been invited to the Wingfield residence by Tom after pressure by Amanda to find a “gentleman caller”
for Laura.

In playing Amanda, Mary Ann Hay creates with Southern accent a giddy character who prattles on and on about
all the beaus she had as a young woman. Dates with her own “gentlemen callers” are revisited as Amanda
glowingly whirls around the living room while showing off her flowery gown of yesteryear. Charm to impress a
guest, however, does not become a woman who otherwise screams at her son with fury enough to find Laura
cringing in fear.

In playing the clinging vine, Katie Tame creates a woman whose shy appearance, slightly hunched body and
limping movements all contribute to the picture of a student unable to continue typing courses in a business
school. But beyond insecurity, Tame’s character also panics at the anguish of facing her secret high-school
crush before answering the doorbell but later beams exhilaration after being kissed by him.

Rounding out the polished cast is Gordon Gray, who easily fills the role of self-assured Jim, the high-school idol
of past successes in music, sports and girls.  Notwithstanding future promise, however, the boastful Jim continues
to work in the warehouse 

Directed by Paul Meacham, this production shows off fine acting within a layout of modest furniture, period
costumes and occasional dance music emanating from the Paradise Lounge across the alley. Completing the
picture of inner-city life are a fire escape, apartment buildings on each side and above.