Rapture Theatre’s latest production brought a Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee William to the stage at Kings Theatre. With a strong cast I hoped this classic piece of drama could be effectively brought to the stage but sadly the performance failed to captivate.
A heavy three hour production from featuring mental illness, domestic abuse and family drama needed a careful hand when being dealt with but instead sadly the time dragged and my attention was lost multiple times. This was reflected throughout the audience with groups of schoolchildren, attending to watch one of their Higher Drama pieces being brought to the stage, failing to react to some of the more confrontational moments such as Blanche’s rape by Stanley being met with sniggers and disinterest. This was a clear example of the failure of the production to get the audience on the side of the characters to the point where moments such as Blanche’s breakdown or her rape by Stanley failed to shock or evoke much emotion beyond the expected disgust at a character’s actions. Where this portrayal and climax of the plot should have evoked a greater reaction it was only the act itself that had an effect.
I discovered from Rapture’s website that there was some controversy over the productions choice of cast which we found shocking. Joseph Black as Stanley was fantastically cast and gave a chilling portrayal of the horrible character and it is ridiculous in this day and age that a production should have to defend their casting decisions to a publication such as The Herald and educate them at the same time with a history lesson.
The cast as seperately individuals were fairly strong but as an ensemble their energy lapsed. More effort could have been funnelled into the consistency of the actors accents with Stella’s being particularly awful – flip flopping all over the place. Blanche portrayed by Gina Isaac was an intriguing character with Isaac attempting to do all she could to keep the audience engaged but occasionally suffering from a lack of engagement with other cast members. Without a doubt the star cast member was Kaseem Tosin Amore as Mitch bringing energy to the stage throughout the long piece and the chemistry between him and Isaac was convincing. The only character I felt able to empathise with was Amore and he did a great job and salvaged some enjoyment for me from the piece.
Sadly Rapture Theatre’ s challenging choice failed to live up to the demands of such a lengthy and complex piece leaving me frustrated at the end and unlikely to ever want to watch the critically acclaimed film version.