A streetcar named desire (Review)

A Streetcar named Desire

(Critique en français : Cliquez ici)

By: Tennesse WILLIAMS 

Directed by: Rebecca FRECKNALL

Set designer:  Madeleine GIRLING

Costume designer: Merle HENSEL

Lighting design: Lee CURRAN

Sound designer: Peter RICE

Composer: Angus MACRAE

Costume supervisor: Helen JOHNSON

Fight director: Jonathan HOLBY

Dialect Coach: Rebecca CLARK CAREY

Associate director: Claire O’REILLY

Associate lighting designer: Hector MURRAY

Associate sound designer: Ed FERGUSON

Assistant director: Tatenda SHAMISO

Casting director: Julia HORAN

Casting assistant: Lilly MACKIE



Eduardo ACKERMAN, Rob DEMPSEY, Alexander ELIOT, Patsy FERRAN, Gabriela GARCIA, Cash HOLLAND, Francesca KNIGHT, Paul MESCAL, Zach PARKIN, Tom PENN, Constanza RUFF, Jabez SYKES, Anjana VASAN and Dwane WALCOTT

until 6 may 2023

At The Phoenix Theatre London

If Tennessee WILLIAMS‘ text already has the power to turn us upside down, this power is multiplied in Rebecca FRECKNALL‘s direction. More than a tram, it’s a bulldozer that will run over your body. It’s emotionally more than you can handle and yet it will leave you wanting more. Disturbing and powerful!

It’s so New Orleans that you feel like you’re watching the streetcar go by. We recognize, here, perfectly Rebecca FRECKNALL’s touch with her characters gravitating around a scene on another smaller scene. It’s a bias that we love from the very first minutes. We find a luminous and sonorous atmosphere that suits her so well. The aestheticism is Dantesque. The atmosphere is unique. The textures, since there is an uncommon rendering in this area, are surprising.

To reinforce this captivating scenography, we are captivated by an incredible and talented cast. In Rebecca FRECKNALL’s interpretation, all emotions are conveyed through the interior of the characters while remaining visible from the outside. Each performer shows incredible acting ability. Paul MESCAL is at the top of his talent. He plays a Stanley who is as disturbing as he is attractive in a concentrate of testosterone. He does not recite his text with majesty, he lives it in his body as well as in his intonations. His entire body is inhabited by a chimerical Stanley who dazzles all our senses. The man-animal side, in its harshness, is particularly well exploited and highlighted without totally dehumanising the character. Such an achievement would almost become frightening! The man gives each spectator a slap.
There is a perfection in Blanche’s wandering that is deliberately never achieved. In this way, Patsy FERRAN plays marvellously with appearance and the progressive loss of control. She manages to exude a perfect unhealthy innocence by being the ghost of herself. Patsy and Paul give a physical demonstration of magnetism by playing on their opposite polarity. He will be the virile force, she will be the orchidoclast.
As for Anjana VASAN, convincing to no end, she moves us to tears.
An impeccable cast beyond words! A cast that will make you, time and again, witness moments of grace until the final denouement during which the last line of each character makes « ouch! »
This is the height of talent!

A streetcar named Desire exudes, more than ever, an overflowing intensity thanks to an approach that is as particular as it is singular. A unique blend of authenticity and surrealism. Your little heart will reach the point of no return. It’s vibrant and confusing to the point of leaving you speechless.

You will leave the theatre with a strange feeling and only one word in your head: Giant!



The story

On a street in New Orleans, in the blistering summer heat, a sister spirals.

When Blanche unexpectedly visits her estranged sister Stella, she brings with her a past that will threaten their future. As Stella’s husband Stanley stalks closer to the truth, Blanche’s fragile world begins to fracture. Reality and illusion collide and a violent conflict changes their lives forever.


Photography by: Marc BRENNER






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