Theatre in Wales

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EVERY RAW NERVE EXPOSED

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

English Touring Theatre with Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Theatr Clwyd , Theatr Clwyd, Mold , May-28-18
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE  by English Touring Theatre with Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Theatr Clwyd This devastating production rips the skin off Tennessee Williams' play and leaves it with every raw nerve end exposed.

I approached with some caution. The action is moved to the present and at first sight all the cast seemed too young for their parts. However, caution soon vanished completely and the youth of the cast is one of its most positive elements.

There are moments of explosive movement which, together with the equally explosive music score, take the audience unawares. But I must not give the impression that Nubya Garcia's music is always loud, often it fills the background with an off-kilter New Orleans Jazz sound.

As for the acting, it grows stronger and stronger as the play progresses. Kelly Gough's fey, on edge, brittle Blanche is hypnotic and her final descent into hysteria and madness is absolutely haunting.

Patrick Knowles is a wholly animalistic Stanley, constantly half stripping and always dangerously volatile.

I don't remember ever seeing as believable a Stella as Amber James, it's completely convincing that this feisty, strong woman would be married to Stanley.

I also found the relationship between Dexter Flanders' Mitch, all quiet politeness, and Blanche utterly convincing.

Chelsea Walker's direction balances quiet moments with frantic activity reflecting not just the life of Elysian Fields but Blanche's increasingly fragile nature. Georgia Lowe's spare set, Lee Curran's imaginative lighting and Giles Thomas' often unnerving sound design all add to our identification with her state of mind.

I knew Streetcar was a very good play, this production made it something more than that.

Reviewed by: Victor Hallett

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