Streetcar Named Desire
Written by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Gemma Bodinetz
Presented by the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse
17th February - 10th March 2012
Photograph by Stephen Vaughan
Although he appeared in the film version of the acclaimed play by Tennessee
Williams over sixty years ago, the ghost of Marlon Brando was ever present
when watching this latest version of many stage adaptations it has inspired
- this time directed by Gemma Bodinetz of the Liverpool Playhouse.
Brando produced one of the greatest angry young man performances in the
history of cinema, in the guise of Stanley Kowalski, so perhaps it is
unjust to compare Sam Troughton's portrayal with the mighty Marlon. But
I will anyway!
I found it almost one-dimensional and lacking any real sense of stage
presence, which could equally apply to Leanne Best - who I love to bits
as an actress - who seemed miscast in the role of Stella, Stanley's ever-faithful
However Amanda Drew as Stella's sister, Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh
took the part in the film), is magnetic, subtley switching from a ultra-confident
and seductive temptress to a vulnerable and child-like persona, the latter
usually caused by Kowlski's cruel treatment of her, ending with her being
savagely violated by him , leading to her mental collaspe.
In a production lasting nearly three hours, the stage design constantly
holds the attention, with beautifully coloured lighting and the switching
throughout from the cramped two bedroom flat where the three protagonists
are based - with Blanche being on 'holida'y there - to the spiral fire
escape, where people pass the time of day, attached to the building.
The sense of being enveloped in a warm New Orleans summer climate is
cleverly conveyed, notably the whirling fan in the ceiling casting shadows
over the room, as well as the notes of softly rendered blues music.
On a cold February evening in Liverpool, it made one pine for those lovely
long hot summer nights, drinking ice- cold lager.