Two weeks ago, David invited me to see the most recent revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, currently playing at the Broadhurst Theatre, with him. I was itching to see a new interpretation on the script, so of course I said yes. I saw the last revival at Roundabout two or three times. It was a beautiful, classic revival starring the late Natasha Richardson and John C. Reilly. I was eager to see what this cast of newcomers could do with the material.
Well, first, I’d forgotten how long Streetcar is. It’s close to three hours long, and in a world of “90-minutes-no-intermission” shows, that’s hard to swallow. But we get through it, of course. A Streetcar, after the first scene is when the last 1/3 of the audience comes into the theatre. No, really, it was ridiculous how many people were seated.
But I digress. The set was fitting and depressingly beautiful, while the lighting was awe inspiring, it was so aesthetically pleasing. I very much enjoyed Daphne Rubin Vega as the love-sick and abused Stella, despite having heard not so positive things at first. Wood Harris, as the surprisingly chivalrous Mitch, was endearing and quite perfect. Blair Underwood was strong and intimidating as the iconic Stanley Kowalski, probably more so than John C. Reilly ever was.
The real star of this cast was Nicole Ari Parker as the pathologically lying and pathetically delusional Blanche DuBoise. Her quick mental and physical demise before the audiences eyes was astounding. It was a crazier interpretation than Richardson’s, but it was still absolutely affective.
The one bone I have to pick with this production was the direction. At one very quiet, intense moment in the second act during a speech given by Blanche, a member of the company dressed like an old woman waddled across the stage mumbling words. It was the oddest thing I’d ever seen. Streetcar was probably 25 minutes longer than it had to be because the scene changes took so long. Had they been shorter, we’d have been out of there before 11pm.
Overall though, it’s a successful (albeit different) mounting of Streetcar.