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| 21 March 2014 | Reply

Black Swan Theatre
Directed by Kate Cherry
Sound Design by Ben Collins, Lighting by Matt Scott, Set by Christina Smith
Starring Sigrid Thornton, Jo Morris, Nathaniel Dean, Luke Hewitt, Alison Van Reeken

A Streetcar Named Desire - Black Swan Theatre Company

Tennessee Williams’ famous play, set in New Orleans in the forties, is a brutal head on collision between the moral hypocrisy of the times, between old fashioned ways and new fashioned thinking, and between the men and women of the story.

It’s this latter theme that plays out most poignantly on stage at the Black Swan Theatre in the opening performance of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Kate Cherry and starring Sigrid Thornton, who plays the unravelling Southern belle Blanche Dubois with a damaged mania and brutal honesty, and no shortage of wit, collecting laughs as she goes. Alongside Thornton is Jo Morris as her younger sister Stella, and the girls steal the show from the gents.

Most will know the story via Williams’ book, other stage productions, or the 1951 movie starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. Blanche, fading after a life wasted on frivolous affairs and the loss of the family plantation, visits her sister to stay indefinitely after being sacked from her school teacher’s job after a dalliance with a student. Fireworks occur almost instantly as Blanche’s delusions go head to head with Stella’s brutish husband Stanley, who is rough around the edges sober and an abusive drunk.

Like the Streetcar of the title, that delivered Blanche to Stella’s apartment and keeps rattling past, life would just continue with disturbing regularity for this couple were it not for Blanche’s arrival upsetting Stella & Stanley’s co-dependant apple cart.

The production struggles to build tension as the cast head towards the climax of the show, Stanley’s assault on Blanche. What should have been a nail biting ride is left seeming over-drawn out as the male actors – primarily Nathaniel Dean as Stanley Kowalski – don’t display the charisma and force of character to enthral the audience. First night nerves, perhaps, as several of the cast tripped over their lines and props.

Thornton and Morris being so good in their roles leaves the show rather one-sided, and at three hours (including interval) it didn’t captivate totally.

The production is still worth a visit though, with a magnificent set that practically transports you to the apartment building in which they live, complete with 2 story high wrought iron spiral staircase. Likewise the sound & lighting create a moody atmosphere, evoking the squalor and poverty of New Orleans in the period.

The Black Swan Theatre Company’s performance of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire runs until 6 April 2014


Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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