Reviews – A Streetcar Named Desire

21 June 2024

Triumphant production of a searing classic
by Alanna Maclean, Canberra City News, 20 June 2024

Tennessee Williams is not for the faint of heart. Free-Rain do a fine job with this searing classic. Amy Kowalczuk as Blanche and Meaghan Stewart as her sister Stella are one of the best matched set of Streetcar sisters that you could hope for.
Hoskison makes a towering and pragmatic Stanley, challenging Kowalczuk’s increasingly untethered Blanche all the way to the traumatic climax and the aftermath. Gentle would-be suitor Mitch (perceptive performance by Lachlan Ruffy) doesn’t stand a chance. 

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’
by Len Power, Canberra Critics Circle, 20 June 2024

As Blanche, Amy Kowalczuk establishes an immediate presence as Blanche and maintains it throughout the play. Her version of the character comes from deep within. There’s no playing of surface nervousness, she lives the role. Her vocal performance has a depth that cleverly gives unstated clues to this complex woman.  The thoughtful building of layers of complexity in her character leads ultimately to a mental collapse that is believable, pathetic and tragic. This is an extraordinary performance that is a success on all levels.

Alex Hoskison has the physical presence for Stanley and plays him with a brute force that is genuinely frightening. At the same time, he gives an innocence to the character which is strangely endearing… Hoskison’s performance is powerful, unique and vital.

As Blanche’s sister, Stella, Meaghan Stewart gives arguably her best performance to date. She displays an unexpected vulnerability in her role and shows a clear understanding of the love of a woman for a man who treats her badly.

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’
by Simon Tolhurst, That Guy Who Watches Canberra Theatre blog, 20 June 2024

Amy Kowalczuk as Blanche …(gives) a performance that doesn’t oversell the damage Blanche has suffered – she’s just on the edge of holding on, reorienting herself constantly to keep herself in check, letting the tension bubble under for most of the play rather than releasing it. It’s a role that requires her to move between snobbishness, self-righteousness, melancholy, joy, viciousness, outrage, protectiveness, fear and finally catatonia, and she strikes every note perfectly.

Alex Hoskison matches her as Stanley … (he) is earthy, practical and assertive – a simple man with rage under the surface.