Theatre review: A Streetcar Named Desire by the Scottish Ballet at Sadler’s Wells

17:27 02 May 2012

Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet's production of A Streetcar Named Desire


Scottish Ballet’s powerful version of A Streetcar Named Desire perfectly captures Tennessee Williams’s tragic tale.

Despite the lack of dialogue, the production adeptly tells the story of fallen southern belle Blanche DuBois, who after suffering a number of misfortunes – including the death of her husband, the loss of her family home and her public shaming as a harlot – travels to New Orleans to stay with her sister Stella and unpredictable brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski.

It is brilliantly choreographed and beautifully performed, with all the key events perfectly translated into dance. The performers convey their characters effortlessly through their movements, Stanley’s confident swagger contrasting with the jittery, tentative gestures of Blanche.

The jazz-influenced score, by Peter Salem, evokes the sultry New Orleans, while blocks are inventively moved, linked, piled up and knocked down to suggest the changing scene.

Some of the large set-pieces are fantastically imaginative, particularly the bowling competition and the gloomy journey in the streetcar of the title, which transports Blanche to Stella and her fateful clash with the volatile Stanley.

It’s mesmerising stuff, and so well-told there’s no need to know the story or the words of the original.

* The Scottish Ballet’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire was at Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1, from Thursday, April 26, until Saturday, April 28

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