It must be tempting for an actor playing Blanche DuBois to be unhinged from the start. Once they know the emotional battering the character is about to go through – the layers of regret and recrimination made volatile by drink – they would have cause to enter with an air of hysteria. But Kirsty Stuart is too subtle an actor for that.
As the unsteady centre of Tennessee Williams’s 1947 play, directed here by Elizabeth Newman, she repeatedly reminds us of the respectable teacher she claims to be. She is not merely dissembling to cover up a dissolute lifestyle. This is a woman with the intelligence, charm and perhaps even empathy to be an admired member of the community. As she cracks, her declarations of superiority become ever more hollow, but she has enough poise and spark to make you believe her life is not entirely a sham. [READ MORE]