BWW Reviews: Stage Door Inc.'s A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE is First-class Enjoyment
Stage Door Inc.'s production of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE does complete justice to Tennessee Williams' classic American masterpiece about fantasy versus reality. Created in 1947 during a time where, it was deemed downright scandalous, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE grew into America's heart.
In A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Blanche Dubois goes on a retreat from her antebellum roots in Mississippi and travels to New Orleans to stay with her younger sister Stella in the French Quarter. Stella is unaware that Blanche is mentally fragile due to a series of financial issues that have caused the loss of the family estate plantation as well as failed romantic interludes. Blanch clings to reality with fantasy and delusions of grandeur. Her retreat into Stella's world doesn't perpetuate the delusions of grandeur. Instead it descends down on them when she is confronted with Stella's aggressively brutish and uncouth husband Stanley. Above all Stanley is a realist, and seeing right through Blanche with her fanciful stories, he provokes her in attempt to bring her down from her pedestal. It's the conflict between Blanche's stately delusions and Stanley's gritty realism that stirs up the play's melodrama. It is only a matter of time before Blanche's reality is swept away from her.
The leading lady of the show excels. Alane Reynolds Johnson plays the fading southern belle Blache DuBois and her descent into madness is gloriously heartbreaking. She gives such a depth to Blanche as she succumbs to Blanche's mental anguish. Playing through a slew of emotions Johnson rightly embodies two façades as she switches back and forth between Blanche's aggrandizing nature and her fragile dependent one.
Kourtney Pepper as Stella Kowalski gives an enjoyable performance as the stifled sister and wife. She lets everyone get the best of her, whether it's her sister Blanche or her over bearing husband Stanley. She radiates the struggle as she is torn between the love for both her sister and husband.
Kiefer Slaton plays husband Stanley Kowalski. He certainly makes a figure as a brawny Stanley. Brawniness aside his portrayal of a man raw and animalistic in nature is spot on. Slaton performance has dimension to it he shows a Stanley who wants to protect his domain as well as his sense of self worth.
Phil Graschel fits right in as Mitch Mitchell, the kind gentleman caller of Blache. At one point he seems to be her ticket out of one fantasy into the next. He starts out as nice and reserved and he proves to be something less than meets the eye in his dealings with Blanche.
Under the direction of Marc Anthony Glover, the cast doe a fine job bringing this classic tale to life. I also have to give a nod for production design with keeping to the vibe and atmosphere of the late 1940s with costumes and the set. STREETCAR can easily be updated to a more modern time, but keeping with the times, helped keep this classic a classic.
As with most classic plays of a certain era, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE runs a bit long, almost clocking in at 3 hours, but every minute of it is thoroughly enjoyable. With immersion into the story you won't even realize all the time that's passed. Just sit along for the ride as the performers give you everything they've got.
Stage Door Inc.'s production of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE runs through July 18- August 10. For tickets and more information visit http://www.stagedoorinc.com.
Photos courtesy of Stage Door Inc.