Assembly Roxy (Venue 139)
August 4th to 29th (not 10, 15 or 22)
This brilliant production of what is now a classic is gritty, down to earth and deeply believable. Every member of the cast enters into the action with gusto and commitment. Director Keti Dolidze has inspired them to give of their best.
The opening reunion of the sisters tells us much about these central characters. Blanche (Nineli Chankuetadte) combines deep insecurity and fragility with a kind of strength. She has come to stay with her sister ostensibly because she has stopped working at a school, but her life is falling apart. Sister Stella (Irina Giureshvili) has married Stanley, a worker of Polish family and of a very different type and class from the people Blanche is used to and grew up with. But Stella loves him, despite his glaring faults. She does her best to liaise between her visitor and her husband, but this is tough, and she is heavily pregnant.
Card games happen often in the household, and one of Stanley’s friends, Mitch, becomes close to Blanche. Here, Teimuraz Gvalia gives an impressive performance, showing clearly the range of emotions he goes through.
This is an intensely involving production, and the fact that there are surtitles does not affect involvement – these, as we are told at the beginning, are not re-translations but always word for word Tennessee Williams’ text. We are a very long way from Hollywood glamour here, and the cast transport us to a vibrant community, struggling to make life as good as possible, rowing but dealing with their conflicts together.
If you want to see new life breathed into a classic, with passion, violence and heartbreak convincingly portrayed, this is one to make sure you do not miss.