I recently saw the a live screening of “A Streetcar named Desire” which until recently was playing at The Young Vic in London. It stars Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois, Ben Foster as Stanley and Vanessa Kirby as Stella.
Although I’ve read the play, I’ve never seen either the movie or any stage version. The first half of the play was not particularly overwhelming to me – it satisfied my expectations after reading the play, but it was the second half which was truly amazing. The true vulnerability of Blanche Dubois was shown to perfection both by Gillian Anderson and the director. Certain choices, such as having Blanche half dressed and with smudged make up, in the rape scene made Blanche seem almost child like emphasising the tragedy. Ben Foster was also incredible as Stanley, and the direction of the rape scene, which seemed very graphic and brutal despite very little actually being shown, was done perfectly. The whole second half, and that scene in particular, was very difficult to watch but an excellent portrayal of such heartbreaking material. Vanessa Kirby’s accent was flawed and she didn’t quite live up to the performances of her two co stars, although this didn’t much effect the power of the play.
After reading the play, although being aware of the tragedy of what had happened, I didn’t feel that connected to the characters or what was happening. The direction and the incredible acting of Gillian Anderson (I honestly can not praise her enough in this production) made this an incredible adaptation. If you can see it in the cinema, I definitely recommend it, although it is certainly not a feel good theatre experience.