Controversial Australian director Benedict Andrews returns to the Young Vic with A Streetcar Named Desire after the success of his adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters in 2012. Known for his full-on, full-frontal directing, Andrews has been described by Cate Blanchett (whom he directed in Big and Small at the Barbican) as a “muscular director – brutal even”. His style may not be to everyone’s liking but it is definitely affective, pushing his actors to break through to another performance level, which is rawer and messier than the norm in British theatre.
Gillian Anderson of X Files fame takes on the role of Blanche Dubois, the Southern belle whose chaotic downward spiral lies at the heart of the play. Anderson follows in the well-trodden footsteps of the likes of Glenn Close and Rachel Weisz in this role on the London stage. Nominated for an Olivier award in 2009 for her performance in The Doll’s House at the Donmar Warehouse, Gillian Anderson may be a film star but she has cut her teeth to a keen edge on the stage.
A Streetcar Named Desire is the classic Tennessee Williams tragedy that sees fading beauty Blanche Dubois forced to flee poverty by moving in with her sister Stella and her bully of a brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski.
Arguably the most famous adaptation was the 1951 film starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. Exuding sexual tension, the adaptation also marked the beginning of a new style of acting called dramatic naturalism, based on the system pioneered by Constantin Stanislavski - the godfather of method acting .
A Streetcar Named Desire is a complex play which interweaves themes such as the relationship between love and death, the fear of ageing, and women’s dependence on men. Ultimately however, its depth lies in the way it pitches fantasy against reality in a contest the former seems ultimately to win: Blanche attempts to remake her own existence as well as her sister’s, finally opting to retreat into an imagined world for survival.
This is the play that formed the inspiration of the new and recently controversy-mired Woody Allen adaptation Blue Jasmine. This timeless story boasts one of the most touching lead characters in the history of the theatre, and if you haven’t seen it before, you shouldn’t miss this chance.
|What||A Streetcar Named Desire, The Young Vic|
|Where||The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Southwark (underground)|
23 Jul 14 – 19 Sep 14, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information|