A Streetcar Named Desire

by Tennessee Williams

Directed by Julie Dark

February 10th - 21st, 2004

The Tower Theatre performing Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate

 

Cast List

Blanche DuBois : Clarisse East
Stella Kowalski : Rosalind Moore
Stanley Kowalski : Richard Thornton
Harold Mitchell (Mitch) : Ralph Ward
Eunice Hubbel : Harriet Watson
Steve Hubbel : Ian Hoare
Pablo Gonzales : Craig Carruthers
Doctor / Tamale Man : Tom Tillery
Nurse / Mexican Woman : Denyse Macpherson
Young Collector / Sailor : Patrick Mills
Mexican Woman / Neighbour : Annalisa Checchi

Musicians
Colin Guthrie (Keyboards)
Arthur Garrison (Drums)
Martin South (Bass)
Luca Burroughs (Saxophones)
Richard Willis (Trumpet)

 

Production Team

Director : Julie Dark
Assistant Director : Dominic Ward
Musical Director : Colin Guthrie
Set Design : Jude Chalk
Lighting Design : Nick Insley
Sound Design : Phillip Ley
Costume Design : Peter Westbury, Elaine Prenzlau
Original Music : Colin Guthrie

Stage Managers : Teresa Brennan, Lesley Scarth
ASMs : Jeff Kelly, Kay Perversi, Lindsay Ruigrok
Lighting operators : Zizi Sulkin, Linky Trott
Sound operators : Peta Barker, Claire Christy
Construction manager : Keith Syrett



Review by Julia Hickman for Theatreworld Internet Magazine


Real life is way too difficult for some people - a prime example being Blanche DuBois, one of the great tragic heroines of literature. She is at the epicentre of A Streetcar Named Desire, that fabulous, volcanic 1947 play by Tennessee Williams set in the Deep South during the Depression. This is probably Williams's best known work, since the 1951 film starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando.

Blanche has arrived at her sister Stella's home, on the wrong side of the tracks in New Orleans. She is a vision in white, all fragrant and delicate like a rare orchid. How could such an innocent person cause such havoc? Stella's reduced circumstances - two small rooms in a basement - come as something of a shock to one used to the lifestyle of a plantation owner.

But more of a shock is Stanley, the working-class Polish immigrant married to Stella. He has Blanche's number from the moment he claps eyes on her, and she knows it. Blanche's dark secrets and Stanley's explosive character are like a moth to a flame and the two of them circle one another relentlessly, waiting for the inevitable eruption.

Stella desperately tries to keep the peace, whilst sensing that a fault line has opened up in her life. She is torn between blind love and protectiveness towards her elder sister who is not of this world, and having a life herself. But she must choose.

Mitch, one of Stanley's poker-playing friends, has taken a shine to Blanche - somehow he is transformed during the play from a gentle, thoughtful bloke concerned about his mother, into a sex-starved beast. Stanley in his more lucid moments realises what is happening to him and struggles against what he is becoming. And as for Blanche, her dreams and fantasies brutally torn as they are from reality cannot lead to any good place on this earth.

Clarisse East as Blanche certainly looks the part, though her Deep South accent doesn't ring true. Rosalind Moore is excellent as Stella and Richard Thornton is a brooding Stanley, touchingly romantic when making up to Stella after a violent explosion, trying to make everything right again.