Tennessee Williams examines all aspect of desire. It can attract us to people with whom we have little in common, fill a void created by a tragedy or provide a diversion from the fear of aging and death.
Escaping from her past and the consequences of her responses Blanche Dubois (Clare Foster) seeks refuge with her sister Stella (Amy Nuttall) but her pretensions lead to conflict with her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski (Kieran Hill).
A Streetcar Named Desire is lengthy and director David Thacker’s emulation of the relaxed atmosphere of New Orleans stretches the running time to the point of physical discomfort. The forced intimacy and sweaty contact that the play needs to be truly successful is lacking.
Wisely, Hill does not attempt to replicate Brando’s performance but fails to convey Stanley’s animal magnetism muting the power of some scenes. Thacker compensates by shifting the focus to the two sisters and it pays off as there is a real closeness between Foster and Nuttall. The latter expands her doe-eyed image in a sensual performance that makes clear the passion that unites Stella and Stanley.
Meanwhile Foster creates a multi-layered person but does not blend all of the characteristics together successfully. The various aspects of Blanche are all present but in isolation – her desperate need and her predatory appetites do not merge together in a satisfying whole.