Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Streetcar Named Desire -Review- People's Theatre

A Streetcar Named Desire 
The People’s Theatre
22ndFebruary 2012

I must admit, prior to visiting the People’s theatre to see a Streetcar named Desire, I knew very little of the story itself or what to expect. This was also my first time for seeing the Nice Swan Theatre co. at work. However,  having been to the People’s Theatre before to see various other performances I knew to expect well rounded, rustic and hearty performances and ‘Desire’ did not disappoint! Although, the play has a very long running time and you spend the first half wondering what exactly is ‘going on?’; the big reveal in the second half of the play hits you with an unexpected twist. I’d urge anyone going to see this play to do a little reading up on what to expect because it’s not one of those plays with an obvious plot.

There are some key themes throughout the script which are worth looking out for due to the less than obvious ways they are portrayed. The play examines the fragility of human relationships; the grieving widow, the wife living in fear and the controlling husband. Whilst also depicting ‘Fantasy’s inability to overcome reality’ and enlightening audiences on the harsh social realism of these human relationships. The play seems to cover quite a day to day running of when Stella’s sister, Blanche comes to stay with her and her husband, Stanley, but in the second half all becomes a lot clearer and it ends in Blanche losing her mind and the audience suddenly realising that not only does Blanche have a fear of bright lights and appears to have an addiction to bathing but also why these scenes were important. Not to mention that what seemed to be unnecessary music playing throughout the performance was actually something that was going on inside Blanche’s head. The plot itself, even though it seemed to take a long time to become apparent, was actually a great surprise to the audience.

The Nice Swan theatre co. is a collective of young actors; majority of which seem to be either studying performance of some sort or have recently graduated. The three main characters were excellently cast and were believable in their roles even though, Katie Gibson who played Blanche was meant to be playing someone over the age of 30! She delivered a mature and well developed portrayal of the grieving widow and school teacher, Blanche. Jessica Brady and Sean Bell, who played Stanley and Stella, also gave great performances and I commend every one of the cast in fact for their great southern accents; an extreme contrast to their real accents I’m sure. It’s not the easiest thing to do and keep up when majority of them are probably Geordie, well done cast!

One other thing I’d like to commend the company on was the scenery, which was really well set out. It was quite fitting of the era which I am lead to believe was around the late 40’s/early 50’s. I especially liked how they set out the bathroom, which was raised from the rest of the set and gave the impression of it in fact being another room to their home whilst allowing the audience to see the scenes happening elsewhere in the house. There was a funny moment in the performance I might add, where a member of the cast seemed to walk through the wall and forgot the doorway was there!  The lady didn’t seem to let it faze her (if in fact she even realised) and it didn’t detract too much from the performance but it did raise a few chuckles I noticed.

Overall, the Nice Swan Theatre Company’s performance of ‘Desire’ was great. It is a long play, there’s no avoiding that unless you start amending the script but that doesn’t take away from the good performance we experienced at The People’s Theatre. I would certainly recommend going to see the company perform and even the play itself but make sure you’re sitting comfortably and have a brief idea of what to expect. It gets a well-deserved 3 out of 5 stars from me, nice effort!

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