Review: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams at Cambridge Arts Theatre until May 5

A Streetcar Named Desire Production. Patrick Knowles, Kelly Gough and Amber James. Picture: THE OTHE

A Streetcar Named Desire Production. Patrick Knowles, Kelly Gough and Amber James. Picture: THE OTHER RICHARD - Credit: Richard Davenport, The Other Ric

This is a riveting, gripping and ultimately excellent production of William’s timeless classic - A Streetcar Named Desire.

A Streetcar Named Desire Production. Kelly Gough and Amber James. Picture: THE OTHER RICHARD

A Streetcar Named Desire Production. Kelly Gough and Amber James. Picture: THE OTHER RICHARD - Credit: Richard Davenport, The Other Ric

Charting the story of the abused and disturbed Blanche Du Bois as she loses her already loosened grip on reality, the plot, the themes, the characters are undeniably magnificent.

Delving deeply into themes of emotional, physical and sexual violence, the darker sides of masculinity, the oppression of women, and relational power; Blanche’s worlds of fantasy and reality collide as she arrives to stay with her sister and her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski.

Brilliantly executed by Kelly Gough, Blanche, a Southern Belle, struggles with life as it falls apart around her. And with a stark set and contemporary setting, the play’s timelessness is brought to the fore.

Stanley, played skilfully by Patrick Knowles, exudes an edgy hot temper and a dominant sexuality even before it becomes explicit.

A Streetcar Named Desire Production. Dexter Flanders, Amber James and Kelly Gough. Picture: THE OTHE

A Streetcar Named Desire Production. Dexter Flanders, Amber James and Kelly Gough. Picture: THE OTHER RICHARD - Credit: Richard Davenport, The Other Ric

And with almost balletic choreography, imaginative direction, full use of the stage, gentle humour, and seriously good acting, the story is superbly told.

Produced by the English touring Theatre, Nuffield Southampton theatres and Theatr Clywd, this is a collaboration that brings the audience to the edge of their seats as Stanley’s cruelty tips the balance of Blanche’s fragile mind. Dexter Flanders and Mitch and Amber James as Stella provide top quality acting ensuring the play’s emotional journey misses no beat, bringing the audience right in to the action on stage.

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The play’s dramatic climax is brilliantly done. A memorable theatrical experience. Stunning.

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