Just one slug of liquor sets the precarious world of Blanche DuBois into a slow spin in Aussie director Benedict Andrews’ compelling modern dress interpretation which brings Tennessee Williams’ 1947 classic bang up to date. Magda Willi’s wall-free, skeleton set revolves (ever so slowly, sometimes frustratingly) throughout, so that one moment we’re looking directly into the bathroom where Blanche takes her endless refreshing baths, then the partitioned off living area where her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski fumes with outrage at the deliberately provocative visitor who has long outstayed her welcome in his cramped New Orleans apartment,

It’s powerful stuff. American Ben Foster’s Stanley – tattooed, muscled, still wearing his dog-tag – oozes testosterone and barely controlled violence from every pore. And there’s a real sexual charge between him and his pregnant wife Stella (Vanessa Kirby) – Blanche’s younger sister, torn between an irresistible attraction to her blue-collar spouse and loyalty to her sibling with her pitiful pretensions.

But it’s the presence of Gillian Anderson which has guaranteed a sellout run (you can still catch the NTLive broadcast on 16th September if you miss out on returns), and her Blanche doesn’t disappoint. With her fragile surface composure only just concealing a shaky hold on reality, she’s a fading  Southern belle with a dubious past, snatching at one last chance to catch a man – any man – before her looks (and her sanity) desert her forever.

WHERE Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ. 0207 922 2922

TUBE Southwark / Waterloo

WHEN Until 19 September 

COST £10.00 – £35.00


Image via Young Vic