A Streetcar Named Desire
February 17 – March 10
Author: Tennessee Williams
Running Time: 3 hrs 15 mins
Director: Gemma Bodinetz
Producer: Everyman Playhouse
Cast Includes: Amanda Drew, Sam Troughton, Leanne Best, Matthew Flynn, Annabelle Apsion, Alan Stocks, Russell Bentley, Mandi Symonds, Stephen Fletcher.
A truly great play deserves a truly great production and with this outing of the Tennessee Williams classic A Streetcar Named Desire, the Everyman Playhouse can be said once more to have ticked all the boxes and added a few more besides.
Following on from her superb performance in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui in 2011, Leanne Best as Stella once again shows her ability to hold onto any character and make it her own so that Williams’ rich prose are not only accentuated to the maximum, but also characterised in their own right.
Sam Troughton as Stan struts the stage, chest puffed out with Neanderthalic menace as though this is the one part he has been born, whilst all the while allowing for some beautifully fashioned interaction with those around him – particularly with Best and Amanda Drew – so as to give his character a fully- fledged, three dimensional quality that is a delight to see unfold. Matthew Flynn as Mitch juxtaposes Kowalski’s arrogance magnificently, thanks to a performance of such finely tuned understatement it is almost heart breaking to witness, whereas Annabelle Apsion’s touchingly natural portrayal of Eunice can be said to be a delight.
Yet as good as these all are, without question it is Amanda Drew in the physically and expressively demanding role of Blanche who truly shines. Pouring every ounce of energy into encapsulating her character’s impending mental collapse, by the climax Drew can be seen to be so emotionally spent it is a wonder she has the energy to take her much warranted acclaim. Rarely has an actor got under the skin of her character so completely that she appears so transfixed only then to appear so shocked having stepped back into the “real world” as Amanda Drew does once the applause erupts in her ears. The kindness of strangers, perhaps, but a kindness that is more than deserved on this evidence.
Indeed, if there is one complaint it lies in the slowing down of the action during some overly long scene changes in which black t-shirted stage hands remove bits and pieces that, in overview, do little to change the upcoming scenes at all. Yet, this is nit-picking in the extreme and in the ever growing pantheon of fine productions staged by The Liverpool Everyman Playhouse to have been directed by Gemma Bodinetz of late, this raises the bar considerably.