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Review: A Streetcar Named Desire by Scottish Ballet

A Streetcar Named Desire has been transformed by the Scottish Ballet and director Nancy Meckler for a much-hyped performance that will travel across Scotland. Composer Peter Salem stole the show at the press night of the rendition of Tennessee Williams’ famous play with that score. In fact, it felt far from a Scottish Ballet production to incorporate the edgy and explicit play into its roster of works, juxtaposing contemporary with ballet and offering discordant jazz into what is already a hedonistic mix. A performance that swells to crescendo into madness, Scottish Ballet’s A Streetcar Named Desire will see you commending the live orchestra. I certainly was. 

Southern belle Blanche DuBois exists in 1940s New Orleans and suffers at the hands of addiction once her husband dies, and her sister Stella’s abusive husband Stanley can see beyond her façade. With intense performances, costumes of the era, and a stripped-down approach to set design, the brutality of the original is palpable, though the choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa throws in some airs and graces. Explicit scenes are inevitably less explicit and the emotive feeling hangs on the dance, evoking the abuse between Stanley and Stella. 

Credit: Gavin Smart

Lindy hopping, waltzing and intense ballet are all injected into the production, but what is most astonishing is the score that allows the audience to embark on a journey of brass and strings that will inevitably result in tragedy. A must-see, this Scottish Ballet production is travelling across Scotland. 

Scottish Ballet’s A Streetcar Named Desire tours Scotland from 21st April till 30th June.

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