The Brewery Lane Theatre production of the American classic, A Streetcar Named Desire in Carrick-on-Suir was a triumph for the deep love of good theatre and how this company were not deterred by so-called production values of a big show in a small seventy seater space. They put fifteen performers, a multi location set and lots of beautiful touches like seven silver stars on the auditorium ceiling to suggest the Pleiades – the seven sister of mythology. I know, some will say this is amdram stuff but it stems from a deep exploration of the text and a fine desire to meet all the symbol of Tennessee Williams’ powerful, brutish and sometimes magical play.
Directed by Robert Power who also played the part of Stanley Kowalski. This was a searing brutish and tender evocation of madness, faded gentility and sexual chemistry. This was a production that I will not forget too easily. Power, I understand, came up through the youth ranks of this company and he repaid that confidence with a remarkable production.
I loved the fine detail of setting, props (except bowling balls), beautiful lighting from John Denby and major performances in small parts with excellent sound effects and choice of music from Ann Mansell. Add to this wonderful cameos, like Mary O’Hanlon’s flower seller and you had dreams fulfilled and reputations made and enhanced.
Emma Comerford was amazing as the delusional and disturbed faded belle, Blanche Dubois. Hers was a performance that rang all the bells and touched many hearts. Karri Clifford as Stella was excellent as a passionate accepting wife and the sexuality she exuded in character was hotter than the tamale on sale at the venue. Denis Barry as Vendor kept up the role even into the interval tearoom.
David Grant was riveting as the amoral Steve Hubbell and there were times when I felt he might have played Stanley. Padraic Meade gave a very understated performance but a vital one as Mitch. His quiet dignity underscored the savagery elsewhere on stage.
Tom Nealon and Roseanne Glascott brought detail and accuracy to two small but pivotal roles.