Rapture Theatre return to the King’s Theatre with a play deemed one of the most significant of all time - but sadly an apparent reliance on this weighty statement is not enough. Spattered with inconsistencies, director Michael Eman’s take on this iconic classic ensures that Stella and Stanley aren’t the only parties shortchanged after the loss of Belle Reve.
When her family’s grand estate, Belle Reve, is ‘lost’ neurotic alcholic Blanche DuBois arrives at the modest home of her sister Stella and husband Stanley seeking shelter. Faced with the volatile relationship of her sister’s relationship and her brother-in-law’s obsessive skepticism over her past, Blanche’s descent into madness accelerates.
Encouraging the audiences of drama and English students from across the country, this academic favourite still provides ample examples for essays regarding class and gender, but would be hard pushed to ensure a returning audience. Rarely pushing the audience beyond a chuckle or coaxing more than an “aw”, this emotionally powerful story seems to have been sedated.
A Streetcar Named Desire is unashamedly a product of its era, yet when race-blind casting gifts the production with two well-rounded performances, it also leaves offensive and racist comments unattended and uncontextualised. Animalistic comments made about Stanley by his caucasian sister-in-law take on new meanings that are never fully addressed.
Performances are adequate across the board, however retention of accents seemed to be an issue for many of the cast member with Julia Taudevin’s RP infused New Orleans accent causing significant distraction in majority of her scenes.
Issac offers moments of sheer sadness but is scuppered by odd directorial choices which either remove focus from her or move a poignant moment to an area lacking visibility. Moments shared with Joseph Black as Stanley begin to show real emotional promise, but are cut short by other disappointing performances and unpolished concepts.
Joseph Black, although carrying any humour that is left in the witty script is so detached from the sexuality of the role that is makes his late night interactions with Blanche unbelievable.
Littered with unfinished ideas, Eman’s production manages to smooth out tense moments and induce glazed expressions when hearts should be breaking.
Tuesday 3 to Saturday 7 October