WRITTEN BY: Tennessee Williams
DIRECTED BY: Kate Cherry
STARRING: Sigrid Thornton, Nathaniel Dean, Jo Morris, Luke Hewitt
RATING: 3.5 stars
The film adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire is so revered thanks to the powerful performances of Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando - arguably two of the greatest actors of all time - that to compare their work to the Black Swan Theatre Company's production seems almost cruel. For the most part, the acting in this production was quite good, although there were several accent slips that jarred the enjoyment of some pivotal scenes. The best aspect of the play was Christina Smith's set and costume design, which was both creative and effective. Regardless of any flaws, the play is worth seeing just for the story and Tennessee Williams' genius writing.
Blanche DuBois (Sigrid Thornton) is an ageing and alcoholic Southern belle, struggling to face her own plight. So, she visits her sister, Stella (Jo Morris), and her husband, Stanley Kowalski (Nathaniel Dean), in New Orleans. The couple live in a tiny apartment in a poor quarter of town. Blanche's arrival causes a stir as her dreamer personality clashes with Stanley's harsh realism. The pair are in a constant battle with Stella caught between her love for both of them. Meanwhile, Blanche does her best to woo a new beau, Harrold "Mitch" Mitchell (Luke Hewitt). As tensions escalate all round, Blanche's already weak grasp of sanity is threatened as her world crumbles.
Thornton gives a very strong performance in the lead. The character looks like a lot of fun for actresses to play and she certainly seems to relish the highs and lows of Blanche. Hewitt was also very good as the kind and endearing man who tries to help Blanche. Mitch is probably the most likeable character in the play. Morris is also solid, playing the main character who tries to keep the peace but ultimately sides with her husband at every turn. Dean was good in parts and delivered the famous "Stella!" scream fairly convincingly, but he was also the main culprit of the accent slip.
Black Swan Theatre Company's production of A Streetcar Named Desire is now on at the Heath Ledger Theatre in the WA State Theatre Centre.
Photo by Gary Marsh