A LAST minute change of cast has saved Bolton Little Theatre’s forthcoming production of Tennessee Williams’ classic play from what seemed like an inevitable cancellation.

When a cast member was suddenly taken ill two weeks before curtain up for Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, director Meredith Collinson turned to veteran actress Nora Howcroft to fill the role.

She said: “I knew it had to be someone pretty special to be able to step at such short notice and I also knew Nora wouldn’t let me down – she’s learnt the whole think in about a week.”

The rest of the cast have rallied round in what looks set to be a very innovative production.

The story sees Southern patriarch ‘Big Daddy’ – played by Peter Scofield – about to celebrate his 65th birthday. But the family reunion reveals deep scars in their relationships with favourite son ‘Brick’, played by theatre newcomer Adam Green, hiding his resentment behind an alcoholic haze.

“It’s a very exciting play to be making by debut in,” said Adam, “and I think the audience are in for a surprise with some of the things we have in store for them in the production."

The play was Tennessee Williams' favourite of his own works and has enjoyed critical appraisal since its opening on Broadway in 1955 winning the Pulitzer Prize that year.

Fans will remember the 1958 film starring Burl Ives, Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor.

“It’s quite exciting to be bringing such an icon role to the Bolton stage,” says Lindsay Farnworth. who plays ‘Maggie’ – the role Taylor played on the big screen.

The cast is completed by Jim Smith as the scheming ‘Gooper’ and Julie Burrell as his wife ‘Mae’.

Julie said: “Playing a character so different from myself is always fascinating and peeling back the layers to understand what makes my character tick has been great fun – especially under Meredith’s creative direction.”

The first-time director said: "I always thought if I ever did direct it would be either Brecht or Tennessee Williams, so I’m delighted Bolton Little Theatre has given me the chance to realise my dreams.”

Williams made several amendments to the play during his lifetime and significantly revised it for a 1974 revival. This is the version Meredith is using as a basis, with her own twists.

‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’ runs from Monday, November 8, at the Hanover Street venue. For tickets visit www.boltonlittletheatre.co.uk or ring 01204 524469.