Touring – reviewed at NST City, Southampton
Guest reviewer: Sarah Miatt
Not being too familiar with Tennessee Williams’ most famous play, I was keen to attend this touring production at Nuffield City Theatre to watch it. It was a modern take on this classic, which is sometimes a risk because people expect things to be a certain way, but it can also be a refreshing change.
Its modern setting worked well and I completely understood why director Chelsea Walker decided to do it that way. However, for me, it didn’t necessarily add any real value to the production. Having said that, the physical direction of the piece and the use of the stage was flawless.
The set was really clever, it was a very simple two-roomed box but the way the company used it made it completely believable as Stella and Stanley’s small apartment. Even used to portray Blanches’ spiralling madness – amazing. Clever lighting and the use of some beautiful, original jazz music gave the play a cinematic quality at times.
Kelly Gough was a perfect Blanche Dubois, she was flirty, playful and crazy but also incredibly vulnerable, especially when her madness really starts to set in. She was the complete opposite to Amber James’ Stella who was calm, reasonable and loving. The chemistry between the two was wonderful.
Patrick Knowles as the brutish, Stanley went through a whole range of emotions in front of our eyes, he was angry, happy, devastated and funny all in the space of about five minutes which made him very believable as both a loving husband and an abusive one.
The whole show was full of energy from beginning to end, with some wonderful movement as well as acting, so much so that, at times, it was quite exhausting to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself becoming really invested in the characters and what was going to happen to them. If you get a chance to see this high-energy production you won’t be disappointed.