A Streetcar Named Desire
23 March 2023
3.5 out of 5.0 stars
A Streetcar Named Desire has long been one of the most polarizing plays out there, touted as a masterpiece by some, abhorred for its treatment of the women within it by others. This production of Tennessee Williams’ classic play has been hotly anticipated in London.
The play centres around Blanche and Stella, sisters who have not seen each other in a long time. Stella is living with her husband, Stanley, in New Orleans, when Blanche suddenly arrives unannounced, proclaiming she had to take a leave of absence from her teaching position due to her nerves. She takes issue with Stella and Stanley’s shabby, small apartment, speaking of the large estate the women grew up on and calling Stanley “common”. But as the play develops, it is revealed that Blanche has fallen from grace, and lost the entire estate and inheritance, taking to a very loose lifestyle to keep herself off the streets. As she tries to seduce one of Stanley’s friends, his extreme suspicion of her goes to new lengths as he digs up every last detail about her past.
Whether you fall on the side of people who view Blanche as a tragic hero, victimised by her circumstances, or as a deranged woman of loose morals, this production will leave you satisfied that your side has been well represented! The show is stark and blunt in its bare-bricked backdrop with a raised cinder block platform as the centre stage. There are very few props, which are moved around with fluidity by the performers.
The focus is laid on Blanche and her movements, clothes, and words. But it doesn’t feel like she is set up to be judged by the viewer, rather she is witnessed with a sense of compassion.
The dramatic play doesn’t shy away from the violence, the yelling, the confrontations, but frames them with empathy to every one of the characters.
It is no surprise that it is an extremely successful production, it is masterfully presented, intensely acted, and leaves room for interpretation.