Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A Streetcar Named Desire

The cottage last night had a more than passing resemblance to Streetcar , what with Chris doing his best Stanley Kowalski impersonation over a piss stained duvet . 
It was hot and humid strangely enough too.....so I could be forgiven for having a late night bath after the drama was all over, in order to " sooth my nerves" 
( last night's blog will explain all)
Today's blog.....thank goodness....is a mini review!

Blanche

 To me, the real sadness of A Streetcar Named Desire stems from Blanche DuBois'  loneliness rather than from any of the domestic violence, brutality, rape and madness that spirals away after three damaged souls are cooped up in a grubby two roomed Southern state apartment. Her inability to cope as a single entity is perfectly judged by Gillian Anderson in the New Vic's latest production and her most powerful scenes are not the iconic and histrionic " lying and faded Southern Belle" monologues everyone remembers but the soft and painful sharing of loneliness between Blanche and  Mitch when both cling to each other from their own dark places of isolation

Stanley

Anderson is wonderful as Blanche and the hulking Ben Foster is equally impressive ( in more ways than one) as Stanley  but for me , it is Vanessa Kirby performance as Stella that lingers long in the mind.
Her Stella, is a sexy, bright  survivor with  more than enough love for Her husband, sister and her baby in equal measures. The play's sex scenes between her and Stanley, ground the whole narrative and explain exactly why she stays in the life she has chosen. 
Her performance captures quite beautifully the unquestioning sense of loyalty she has for her family.

Stella

There , were, however aspects of the play that didn't work as well as the performances . The modern day setting, the revolving stage ( designed to give the audience an ever changing view of the claustrophobic setting) and the incredibly loud bursts of music , I felt intruded on the play that stands alone without gimmicks 


21 comments:

  1. Life reflecting art or art reflecting light.

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  2. You do such a great job with your reviews. They are as good as those I read in the papers or on line.

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  3. Huge Tennessee Williams fan here and I adore Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster. Now I wish I was over in your neck of the woods to see this version as your review intrigues me to no end. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Look out for it......perhaps it will be released on tv at some stage
      Well worth watching

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  4. Sounds even better than I thought it might be - though, like you, I'd have serious doubts about a contemporary setting. The characters surely need to be seen as trapped not only within their own dynamics but also constrained by the mores of the time.
    I also would have thought that the play itself was lively enough without having to fall back on revolving stages. Yes, it definitely is such a strong play that it doesn't need any gimmicks to make it stand on its own merits without trying to give it a 'helping hand'.
    Your opinion of the players is worth noting. I'm glad Gillian A. didn't disappoint. Don't know this Vanessa Kirby - and couldn't Stanley at least have removed his undies? - or had them taken off him? (At one time there always seemed to be, in the West End, a 'regulation' nude scene).
    Ta muchly!

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    1. Gillian Anderson was a cracker, though a few people in the cinema complained about the irritating tone of her voice.... I suspect that's how it should be played.
      Kirby WAS excellent...she fleshed out the role of Stella and gave her a depth that matched the more showy characters..so often Stella is seen as being rather saintly.....Kirby makes her sexy and savvy

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  5. Sounds like an experience to be remembered for a very long time - and I'd forgive Gillian A. anything she does with her voice. as long as she's physically recognisable that's good enough for me.

    Btw: I've just bought a couple of hours ago a ticket to see 'Billy Elliott' a week on Sunday, screened into our local. Never seen one of these theatre relays before. (I've actually also booked to see Pacino's 'Salome' on this Sunday, so that'll actually be my first). I was wondering if I'll be enjoying 'Billy E' at the same time as you. Or maybe you've already seen it? - or perhaps it's just not your 'thing'.

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    1. Oops! Well pardon me for even mentioning it! (Billy E.) .....;-)

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  6. It is most often a disaster when someone thinks they can improve on a master work.

    Hope today is a better one and Winnie behaves!

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  7. We saw it last night as well..Gillian Anderson got better and better as the play went on, by the end her madness was a remarkable performance. I wasn't so keen on Stanley...didn't have the same raw animalistic aggression that I remember from studying this as an A level text. Overall absolutely brilliant...but I too didn't like the set, and the hot steamy heat of the deep south was lost in translation I thought...

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    1. Here here......we needed a bit of southern lace

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  8. I can never get organised in time to see these things...I always hear myself saying 'oh I wish I'd seen that...'...I love love love the film and Ms Anderson is a very good actress so it would have been interesting to see her performance as Blanche......such a sad soul.

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  9. That sounds really good. Where did you go to see it?

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    1. Scala prestatyn sue
      It's repeated at theatre clwyd though fairly soon if you want to give it a go

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  10. Hi John, I just wanted to tell you that I just came across your blog and think it's wonderful. It made me smile and laugh on an otherwise boring Wednesday. Thanks!

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    1. That's sweet of you to say so cassie
      Welcome aboard old girl

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  11. The idea of a revolving stage and modern setting does not appeal to me either - it is such a brilliant play - some of these directors have a lot to answer for.

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  12. Don't think I would like the revolving stage...

    Winnie need to see vet? UTI?

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    1. Just separation anxiety Sharon x

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  13. Blanche is such a sad character.

    Love,
    Janie

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