A Streetcar Named Desire
Tennessee Williams' classic gets stunning new treatment
The Georgian theatre company Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre are a wonderful ensemble, and this sultry, graceful production stands easily on its own terms. The famous triangle of Blanche DuBois, sister Stella and her husband Stanley Kowalski, undone by class jealousy and power, is given a new energy. Director Keti Dolidze effortlessly draws out the simmering sexual tension between characters, but also the ingrained misogyny implicit in Williams' play. A gorgeous silver and white set with back-lit shadows showing dancing and musicians is a wonderful paean to the tensions and glamour of the jazz era.
Stanley is pictured as vulnerable in his own way as pregnant Stella, but no less brutish. His first scene chopping meat at the table sets the scene perfectly for his unreconstructed caveman ways, but there is a sliver of failure and sadness in his portrayal. The mental health problems Blanche suffers are sensitively portrayed by a wonderful Nineli Chankvetadze, and the whole thing fizzes with humour, where jealous spouses chase their men with kitchen utensils; desire, as relationships thrive on sweaty animal attraction; and the violence of mistrust.
Dolidze must be commended for bending new shapes into a widely regarded classic which still resonates with the games people play out in back rooms and bedrooms.
Assembly Roxy, 1.55 pm, until 29 Aug, £8–£10.