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April 25, 2018 / basabbott

A Streetcar Named Desire


A Streetcar Named Desire
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

With districts named Desire and Elysian Fields, New Orleans had a gothic feel that appealed to Tennessee Williams.
Even updated, with shorts, sneakers, skateboards and a wheelie case for Blanche, Chelsea Walker’s production retains something of that.
Georgina Lowe’s design has also the languorous, brooding atmosphere of the Deep South. The graphic sexual couplings seem to spring from the environment.
Like The Deep Blue Sea, you get the impression that this is really a closet gay play. Maybe Blanche should be played by a drag artiste.
Brando and Leigh still loom large in any assessment, with even their photos having an iconic presence.
Kelly Gough as Blanche and Patrick Knowles as Stanley conduct verbal warfare at a lickety-split pace.
Dexter Flanders’ Mitch has a calm, benign, less-is-more presence that brings relief.
Dismantling the scenery around Blanche, maybe to show her disintegrating personality, doesn’t really work.
But the high emotions and harrowing mental torments of the play finally begin to grip.

Basil Abbott

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