Co-producing with Nottingham Playhouse and Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum brings heightened production values to the Belgrade which are apparent as soon as you walk into the auditorium.
Edward Lipscomb's set is a spectacular evocation of a rococo mansion in the American south. Though not exactly realistic - even a multimillionaire like Big Daddy would surely not aspire to such extravagant ceiling heights - it does effectively set a benchmark for Tennessee Williams' intensely naturalistic drama.
This play has a famous title and a famous image, of heat and erotic tension, of tetchy people in their underclothes. But it is rarely staged, which may have something to do with the fact that it's as long as King Lear - to which, incidentally, it bears a vague resemblance.
Three intense acts and two intervals mean you will be getting home late and possibly exhausted, but it's unlikely you will have been bored.
Williams switches focus between acts to explore the tensions in the dysfunctional family which has come together to celebrate Big Daddy's birthday and absorb the news that he is dying.
For the first time in the UK this production presents the original version of the third act, which means that we only actually see Big Daddy in the second.
Aaron Shirley makes the most of it to present a compelling portrait of a self-made, boorish monster, unredeemed by the reconciliation director Elia Kazan persuaded Williams to introduce into the final act. Big Daddy can't stand his wife, and his favourite son Brick can't stand his, Maggie, who spends most of the first act pouring out her frustrations on the indifferent, hard-drinking Brick.
It's an impressive tour de force by Lesley Harcourt, and with far fewer words Dugald Bruce-Lockhart also makes a strong impression.
In this version of the third act there is no reconciliation between Brick and Maggie, though the play ends with a victory of sorts for Maggie.
What made the biggest impression on me, though, was the terror of Christine Absalom's Big Mama as her children gang up to make her face the reality of losing the husband who despises her: she is fat and ridiculous, but unbearably human.