Review: CenterPoint’s ‘Streetcar’ offers smooth ride to a downhill destination

"CenterPoint Legacy Theatre is staging "A Streetcar Named Desire." Courtesy photo

CENTERVILLE, Utah, Jan. 21, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — If you are one of those theater lovers hungry for some serious storytelling, make your way to Centerville’s CenterPoint Legacy Theatre.

The Leishman Performance Hall stage is showcasing a classic adult drama, “A Streetcar Named Desire.” This serious, sobering play won Tennessee Williams the first of his Pulitzer Prizes for Drama in 1948 (the second would be in 1955 for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”).

The play tells the story of Blanche Dubois, a Southern woman in decline due to the poor moral choices she has made, all while maintaining a veneer as an upstanding citizen caught in unfortunate circumstances.

In this production, Wendy Oltmanns plays Blanche, arriving almost penniless in New Orleans, at the 2-room flat of her married younger sister, Stella (Amanda Angerbauer).

Blanche immediately feigns an air of superiority over her sister, and balks at the humble digs and Stella’s plain clothing, but she has nowhere else to go.

Stella’s husband is Stanley Kowalski, played by Russell Maxfield. Stanley is not thrilled by the loss of marital privacy, and quickly grows angry with Blanche’s disdain for what she views as his low origins and coarse habits.

Believing he has been cheated out of an inheritance by his sister-in-law’s loss to creditors of the women’s family home, Stanley begins to investigate Blanche’s story of what brought her to his doorstep.

And, one by one, Stanley exposes her delusions and ego-sparing lies.

There’s no happy ending in this drama. Instead, there’s an intriguing character study of people making hurtful choices, and one woman’s spiraling emotional descent.

Oltmanns gives a strong performance as Blanche, and paces her character’s slow unraveling at just the right rate. Maxfield’s Stanley hits all the right marks, ranging from proud and sympathetic to cruel and brutal — which is quite a range.

And Angerbauer’s Stella does a great job as the woman caught between them, feeling both loyalty for her sister and addiction to the rough love her husband offers.

Also excellent is Brandon Green as Mitch, Stanley’s poker buddy, who offers Blanche the dream of happiness for a time.

Director Liz Christensen has used her actors — dressed in character-revealing costumes by Tammis Boam and set against a versatile “canvas” created by set designer/producer Brian Hahn — to tell a difficult and moving story.

To check it out, get to the CenterPoint Legacy Theatre during the show’s run, which ends on Feb. 2. The Leishman Performance Hall is the smaller, more intimate stage at the CenterPoint, at 525 N. 400 West, Centerville.

Again, this show is intended for mature audiences. For tickets or more information, click here.


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