Thursday, 19 March 2015

Edinburgh Events: Scottish Ballet Presents A Streetcar Named Desire

The Scottish Ballet have revived their award-winning take on A Streetcar Named Desire, in the 65th anniversary year of Tennessee Williams' play. The story is an intensely emotional one, telling the tale of Southern belle Blanche DuBois and how she is affected by guilt, the events in her past and by her sister Stella's brutal husband Stanley when she comes to stay with them in New Orleans. In a near-wordless performance the story is powerfully told in movement and sound, to great effect. The narrative is in chronological order and begins with dancing and songs that carry the innocence of love and youth, with the music becoming more haunting when Blanche's life begins to unravel. Peter Mansel's score really shines when events take place in New Orleans with modern jazz and rising tension as the story reaches its climax.  Whilst the New Orleans setting lends a backdrop to vibrant dance scenes, some of the most compelling parts of the ballet are performed in silence, with only the sound of steps and beating hearts to accompany them. The show was developed in collaboration with theatre and film director Nancy Meckler, who ensured the story could be effectively translated into dance and encouraged natural movement in the dancers.

We were lucky enough to be invited to the opening night by the Scottish Ballet and to meet principal dancer Luciana Ravizzi, who performs the role of Blanche (there is an alternating cast each night). Luciana was lovely and spoke very passionately about Blanche, saying it's one of the most emotionally draining roles that she's performed. Blanche's descent can bring her to tears by the end and the recovery after a performance is as much an emotional as a physical one. Thrillingly, she also had some costumes to show us and explained that Blanche's outfits became darker as the ballet progressed, reflecting her state of mind. Luciana's favourite costume is a waist-cinching, dark pink 50's dress with beautiful black belt detail that Blanche wears for the majority of her stay in New Orleans and it was amazing to see the details of the dress up close. She also spoke of the superstitions that dancers have and of enjoying a good glass of wine!

Streetcar runs until Saturday 21 March at the Festival Theatre before it heads off on tour to London and the USA so if you're able to get a ticket for this stunning production in this limited run then you should do so; we absolutely loved it.

Photos courtesy of Scottish Ballet


  1. The stills are stunning. It looks like a great show.