Friday, 13 April 2012

Under a Paper Moon: Scottish Ballet's world premier of Streetcar named Desire

For a story that features so much sex, A Streetcar named Desire is the least erotic play I've seen in a long time. Streetcar is definitely more about tragedy than titillation, and although it felt nearly every other scene was bookended by sex, every character engaging in it was using sex to either gain control or to feel in control. The Scottish Ballet's interpretation was every bit as poignant and as dark as Williams original play.
Eve Musto's Blanche was perfect. Desperate, vulnerable before descending into the chaotic. The boyfriend has confessed to being a little bit in love with her, and I can't blame him. Even when broken and mad, Musto commands the stage with her elegance and strength. I should also tip my hat to Tama Barry's Stanley who managed to have my emphasising with him, his desperate carnal longing for Stella and their mutual dependence on one another. This is all before the climax where I pretty much had to resist a panto style boo (or more appropriate screaming "You bastard" towards the stage) so well done. He captured Stanley perfectly. As always I come away from the ballet astounded by the amount of strength and discipline each of the dancers possess. Every move is so effortless and strong.Scottish Ballet's interpretation of Streetcar is beautiful to say the least. From the seamless set design of Belle Reve to New Orleans to the palettes of greys and pastels in the costume, it all felt effortless (which is the real trick.) All 1940's dresses, and slips and frothy dresses - very light and silky, treading between fanciful and desperate realism. The flower vendor costume was something I adored, and the finale as Blanche takes her final steps in to madness it feels like a funeral, and I suppose it is, Blanche being taken away to the asylum feels like a living death.Peter Salem's (who composed the music for my telly favourite Call the Midwife) score was what really captured me. While blending elements of modern classical with jazz, it was the old world wedding waltz that really got under my skin. The wedding and Blanche's husband Alan's affair was one of my favourite pieces of ballet ever. I was beautiful, tender, desperate and sensual - but with just enough sense of foreboding of what was to come. The waltz and indeed Alan became a motif used throughout to show Blanche haunted by her guilt and it was painfully heartbreaking. The way it was used throughout, becoming more frantic and chaotic was fantastic, and felt very much wrapped up in Blanche's mental state.
A Streetcar Named Desire may have won me over as my favourite ballet, with more than a hit of the Lynchian throughout, this dark portrayal of power, desperation and madness was mesmerising. A moving and fresh reimagining of Williams original play and without a doubt a must see.
A Streetcar Named Desire is sponsored by Adam & Company and is touring to Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Aberdeen, Inverness and Belfast from April - May 2012. You can book tickets via the website.

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
11 - 14 April 2012
Tickets from £10
Box Office 0844 871 7647

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
18 - 21 April 2012
Tickets from £16.50
Box Office 0131 529 6000

Sadler's Wells, London
26 - 28 April 2012
Tickets from £12
Box Office 0844 412 4300

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen
2 - 5 May 2012
Tickets from £13.50
Box Office 01224 641122

Eden Court, Inverness
9 - 12 May 2012
Tickets from £17
Box Office 01463 234 234

Grand Opera House, Belfast
16 - 19 May 2012
Tickets from £9.25
Box Office 028 9024 1919
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