US CRITICS LOVE AUSSIE STREETCAR

US CRITICS LOVE AUSSIE STREETCAR

The Sydney Theatre Company's production of A Streetcar Named Desire, now playing in the Kennedy Centre in Washington, has won rave reviews in the US Press.

While most loved the production, not everyone was impressed with the Aussie cast's attempts at Southern American accents.

Here is a taste of what has been written

Peter Marks - Washington Post

"If Cate Blanchett's nerve-shattering turn as Blanche DuBois doesn't knock the wind out of you, then there is nothing on a stage that can blow you away. What Blanchett achieves in the Sydney Theatre Company's revelatory revival of A Streetcar Named Desire amounts to a truly great portrayal -- certainly the most heartbreaking Blanche I've ever experienced.

“I confess that in the final scene of the 3-hour 15-minute production -- when Blanchett's spectral Blanche is stripped so entirely of the sustaining illusions of life that she looks as if all her blood's been drained away -- I lost it. In the harrowing moment before the asylum doctors lead Blanche away, she makes a frantic last break for it, running and hiding under the bed in Stella and Stanley's room. Watching as Blanchett at last limply submits (over the wrenching sobs of erstwhile beau Mitch), you grasp fully the inevitability of Blanche's demise: She has been lost since a day long ago in her native Mississippi, where the horrific end to an intense, impossible love spurred her to a self-induced doom."

Susan Davidson Curtain Up Magazine.

"Cate Blanchett as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is magnificent. Blessed with a tall thin body and beautiful face, the international movie star imbues her character with gentility and grace. She is a well-dressed Southern belle, a lady one would think comes from landed gentry with all the benefits such a position bestowed on its members. There is no hint of the observations, delusions and lies she will tell about her life in the past and what it has become.

As the lights go up, Blanche sits at the edge of the stage on her suitcase and says, "Why, they told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemetery and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields." Her slowly disclosed whereabouts are about as far from paradise as you can get. Blanche has come to the modest and decidedly lower class New Orleans apartment where her sister Stella and brutish brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski happily live, love and fight. What a come-down for such a "lady."
What makes this production so exciting is the ensemble of players and designers — all from the Sydney Theatre Company of which Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton, are Artistic Directors. Under Liv Ullman's extraordinarily perceptive direction, they are uniformly excellent even though (to this mid-Atlantic ear) their Southern accents do not always hit the mark.

“Just when you thought "oh, no, not another revival," this Streetcar makes its way into a theatergoers conscience where it will be remembered for years to come."

By Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY 3.5 out of 4.

"Blanchett has clearly worked to master the fluttery fragility and affected refinement of this damaged Southern belle. Wandering into the home of her sister Stella and aggressively unrefined brother-in-law, Stanley, her Blanche seems so tightly wound and delicate that you fear a brisk wind will knock her flat on the sidewalk.

“Yet what makes this portrait most compelling isn't the hyper-neurotic body language — how Blanchett manically powders her nose or frantically grasps for a bottle of liquor — but the emotional candor and intensity the actress brings to her character's words and expressions. The ghosts and demons haunting Blanche are always palpable, whether she's addressing them or denying them, and Blanchett, under Ullmann's vigorous but sensitive guidance, makes her desperation absorbing."

 

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