A Street Car Named Desire review by Col
Emotional; Mesmerizing; breathtakingly heartbreaking are words that fail to come close to describing the spellbinding performance delivered, not only by Gillian Anderson (though clearly the main draw card) but by the whole cast of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Staged at the St Ann theatre in Brooklyn, Ms Anderson and co have bought this production from London, and along with it one of the under appreciated stars of the production – the revolving stage. This unique feature thrusts the audience into the centre of the drama unfolding within Tennessee Williams’ famous play.
From her opening scene right up to the heart wrenching walk past the audience by Blanche, all eyes are firmly on Gillian Anderson. Her delivery is inflected with a delicate subtly of emotions. This is no surprise to her legion of dedicated fans, who have long known that she has depth as an actor. Many ‘non-fans’ tend to dismiss and overlook her acting ability due to her background of rising to the publics attention via The X-Files. Not only does she display her ample dramatic acting skills she also displays remarkable comedic ability. She takes the audience on a ride, bouncing from one emotion to another; laughter to tears, gasps of shock to chair squirming tension as we witness Blanche’s slow and painful unravelling, hastened by the actions of her brother-in-law, Stanley.
Ben Foster, who portrays Stanley, is also delivers a stand out performance. Both Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster draw you into their world and then slap you across the face with their powerful and emotional performance. So compelling is their performance, especially Anderson’s, that you forget that this fragile broken portrayal of Blanche is played by the same woman who gave us the strong independent role model of Dana Scully.
The vulnerability she shows through out the production left many shell shocked as they exited the theatre. I personally walked out with muscles screaming with tension, shaking and emotionally drained … lets just say that some comfort cake was needed! How Gillian Anderson manages to perform this intense role day after day is a testament to her strength as a performer, especially considering she recently stated in an interview that she is often left black and blue after a performance. Its no wonder, the role is often brutally physical not to mention emotionally scarring. She can take an element of comfort from the fact that the audience is also emotionally carrying the tell tale signs of bruising as they leave the theatre after her stellar performance.