Steamy Streetcar Ballet Ends Its Run Tonight
Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆
The Scottish Ballet's seductively sensual rendition of Tennessee William's A Streetcar Named Desire is welcomed back to Sadler's Wells, albeit for a brief run.
While the provocative play is not new to theatre audiences — since its Broadway premiere in 1947, it's been adapted into a bevy of award-winning stage (and film) productions with all-star cast members including Vivian Leigh, Marlon Brando, Jessica Lange, Frances McDormand, Rachel Weisz, John C Reilly and most recently the highly lauded Gillian Anderson at The Young Vic — it's one of those shows that's always intriguing to watch.
For this staged version, choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa focuses on simplicity. Starting with languid, poetic sequences, the dancers take backstage to composer Peter Salem's richly sumptuous violin and brass offerings. Moving along, the steam (literally) rises halfway through the first act as lead character Blanche makes her way from her parents decaying mansion to the vibrant streets of New Orleans.
While ballet is not the easiest cross-over in terms of storytelling — this evident when certain scenes feel packed in and convoluted — the production nonetheless beholds the eye of the audience for its two-hour running time.
Eve Mutso is both stunning and lithe as the troubled Blanche, and perhaps even more impressively balletic, is Sophie Martin as Blanche's sister Stella. Nancy Meckler's direction is also entrancing — particularly the transitioning between scenes that are so effortless; it's like watching a dove unfold from its feathers.
The showier ensemble sets could do with a touch more pizazz, but unquestionably, the key scenes demonstrating the allure of America's Deep South — along with a woman's anguished undoing — are articulated with true passion and breadth.
If you miss the show this time round, The Scottish Ballet is heading next to the US for a four-week tour in May. Alternatively, artistic director Christopher Hampson promises thrilling new productions of Swan Lake and Cinderella in 2016.
A Streetcar Named Desire is at Sadler's Wells until 2 April, (making tonight the last one). Select tickets are still available starting from £42 (concessions available). Londonist saw the show on a complimentary ticket.
Last Updated 02 April 2015