Tag Archives: A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire

2 May

Tennessee Williams’ play was first seen on Broadway in 1947. This production, co-directed by Tom Massey and Meg Girdler, captures what makes it a timeless classic.

Blanche, down on her luck, comes to stay with her sister. She expresses shock at where Stella lives and most particularly at Stanley, the man her sister has married. In Stanley and Blanche, Williams presents the eternal conflict between instinctual brute spontaneity and deliberate fanciful pretence. The beauty of Williams’ characterisation is that neither character is solely one nor the other.

And it’s this complexity that this production presents so well. Riley McNamara’s Stanley is strikingly both animal energy and gossipy pedantry. Georgia Britt’s Blanche is both airs and graces, and longing sensuality.  Britt’s performance is magnificent, and the sense of fragility she evokes is utterly heartbreaking.  

Where can Blanche find some sort of shelter?

Perhaps with Stanley’s ex-army buddy, Mitch (played by Matthew Doherty with a moving mixture of quiet hope and angry disappointment.) If not, surely Blanche will always have her sister, Stella (played by Ali Bendall with a beautifully truthful combination of patient tenderness and bewildered frustration.)

Because, up to now, Blanche has “always depended on the kindness of strangers” – perhaps the most poignant line in modern theatre. When Britt delivers it, the pathos is extraordinary, and the production achieves what the play was made for: the awakening of pity for all who are lost.

Paul Gilchrist

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

at the Genesian Theatre until 7 May


Image by Luke Holland