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Review: A Streetcar Named Desire – Theatr Clwyd

It’s another trip back to Theatr Clwyd for the Egwyl team. Gracing the stage of the Anthony Hopkins Theatre is A Streetcar Named Desire. This classic by Tennessee Williams is co-produced by Theatr Clwyd, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and English Touring Theatre, supported by Royal Theatrical Support Trust.

By Kara Beth Davies, Egwyl Editor | @Kara_Davies

★★★★★

“I don’t want realism, I want magic.”

Set in New Orleans, funny, brutal, heartbreaking are just some of the adjectives running through my mind in the packed out Anthony Hopkins Theatre.

The first thing to greet you as you walk in is the set. It’s a very minimal design, but everything has a place, I love how there are no distractions. There aren’t any loud colours or features to take you attention away from the fantastic story acted by the cast of eight. Georgia Lowe, Designer, has managed to create a lifelike, everyday apartment.

It’s clear how moments of happiness can quickly turn into moments of sorrow and pain. A fun, joyous dance to Blondie’s Heart of Glass swiftly turns sour. The volume of the track suddenly slows down into a disorientated state. These moments really hit home, filled with buckets of emotion.

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Blanche (Kelly Gough) and Stella (Amber James) enjoy a dance to Blondie’s Heart of Glass. Photo by The Other Richard

When Blanche DuBois (Kelly Gough) rocks up in town to her sister’s, Stella Kowalski (Amber James), house, it’s evident she has her demons. Gough makes a brilliant Blanche, she has the right amounts of comedic one liners, but it’s the more vicious, emotive areas that packs an almighty punch. In the final few moments, her performance is taken to the next level. Gough manages sensitive scenes like a true professional.

During her stay with Stella, Blanche meets Mitch (Dexter Flanders). Mitch isn’t your stereotypical tough guy, instead he’s innocent and charming, making him such a lovable character. He’s in touch with his emotions and is a definite audience favourite.

Streetcar_DexterFlanders...Mitch, AmberJames....Stella, KellyGough...BlancheDuBois_credit_TheOtherRichard

Mitch (Dexter Flanders) joins Blanche and Stella for some fun. Photo by The Other Richard

Unlike Mitch, there’s Stanley (Patrick Knowles), Stella’s husband. He’s a typical man’s man and the King, as he describes himself. His relationship with Stella is very toxic, Stanley has her right in the palm of his hand. He is evidently seeking control from this marriage. Knowles and James are able to create some thought provoking points, points that are, more than ever, relevant today.

I love how the lighting plays more than its part in this production. The different colours reflecting the different moods and emotions, whether it be a hot pink to represent some kind of love or a shallow blue to represent sadness and pain, it’s very cleverly weaved into the narrative, all thanks to Lee Curran, Lighting Designer.

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Blanche analyses the action. Photo by The Other Richard

It’s a play full of secrets, lies and brutal love. A Streetcar Named Desire has to be one of the most dramatic and vivid pieces of theatre I’ve seen in a very long time. Relevant topics are covered and the cast impressively tackle them so sensitively.

A Streetcar Named Desire runs until June 2, more information and tickets can be found here.   

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