|Amanda Drew as Blanche DuBois|
Liverpool Playhouse Streetcar is well worth the ride
Date: 26 February 2012
I have just seen a production of A Streetcar Named Desire - my third in as many years. I have been really seeking a stage version which paints the complicated Blanche DuBois as fragile, flawed and infuriating, yet compelling to watch and therefore someone who the audience sympathises with. I have found it as the current Liverpool Playhouse version directed by Gemma Bodinetz is a stunning piece of work.
Often Blanche DuBois sashays onto the stage and the actress playing her over emphasises all of the quirky elements of this fascinating character - removing the heart - leaving the audience feeling quite cold at her actions. But here - Amanda Drew manages to hold the audience hostage from the opening scene onwards. You are drawn into Blanche's fantasy world and pray that she finds solace and the love of a good man.
I have seen Rachel Weisz bring beauty and poise to this difficult part and her exit at the hands of Stanley was heartbreaking. But Drew manages to move you from the minute she unpacks over oversized suitcase as her character's delusions break your heart. Sam Troughton is equally good as Stanley - as his brutality and his determination to find out who Blanche really is - mask his own insecurities.
I adore Tennessee Williams' writing but often actors assume that a Southern drawl is enough to carry you to New Orleans - without any hint of desire. Yet this production oozes sexuality and the scene where Blanche seduces a young man and then lets him go - like a wriggling fish on a hook - is inspired.
If, like me - you have been seeking a Streetcar that is slow burning, sultry and sweaty and packed with terrific turns to make you sit up and reassess how great this is - then get to Liverpool pronto.
A Streetcar Named Desire continues at the Liverpool Playhouse until 10 March.
- by Glenn Meads
Any opinions expressed above do not represent the view of Whatsonstage.com nor any of its staff or contributors beyond the bylined author.
|Glenn has covered the Manchester theatre scene for Whatsonstage.com since 2001. Since then he has edited whatsonstage.com/manchester and he currently edits the North West site, as well as providing news, reviews, features and competitions.|
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