An industry friend who also attended yesterday afternoon’s A Streetcar Named Desire performance at BAM wrote and asked what I thought. “A pretty good first act but a great second act,” I replied. “Cate Blanchett is devastating, brilliant, heartbreaking.”

“I was very closely attuned to the line readings in the first act. I know Elia Kazan‘s 1951 film extremely well, and I noticed how each and every line was delivered differently in this production. As if the actors had studied it also and resolved, ‘I will say each and every line differently…no exceptions!’

“I didn’t care at all for the set, which felt needlessly cramped, claustrophobic. I guess I’m used to the French Quarter flavor of the set in the film. All that stage height and director Liv Ullman decided to keep the atmosphere as small and glum as possible. Joel Edgerton, the muscular Sydney actor who plays Stanley Kowalski, was okay but his voice seemed a little too reedy and downmarket in a rehearsed voice-coach sort of way. (Nobody can top Marlon Brando.) Robin McLeavy‘s Stella was fine; ditto the Mitch guy.”