A Streetcar Named Desire

Written by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Gemma Bodinetz
Liverpool Playhouse
Presented by the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse
17th February - 10th March 2012

Reviewed by Colin Serjent
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 wife.

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.

Printer friendly page

Sorry Comments Closed