Arts and Entertainment

X-Files star Gillian Anderson is returning to the London stage to play Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Vivien Leigh

Gone with the wind? No, it haunted her for life

Vivien Leigh was a fragile superstar who always struggled with her most famous role, says Geoffrey Macnab

Review: The Trip to Echo Spring - Why Writer's Drink, By Olivia Laing

Let's drink to inspiration in the bottom of a glass

On the jetty: Diana Quick, centre, stars in Greenberg’s The American Plan

Theatre review: The American Plan - A streetcar named mood-swing

Mental instability colours Richard Greenberg's early play – but it wears its debts too obviously

Orpheus Descending, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Imogen Stubbs looked bashful at the curtain call, as if embarrassed by all the fuss. This may have been because one of her defining moments in a theatre audience was watching Vanessa Redgrave playing the same role of Lady, the lonely, broken, middle-aged immigrant Italian woman for whom life’s possibilities in America’s South are suddenly reawakened. Stubbs tells how the image of Redgrave at the end – sitting like a broken doll – was so devastating that it felt inappropriate to clap at the curtain call.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

The ceiling fan stirs the thick, hot soup of the delta night air in the bedroom of the colonial mansion house where the bourbon flows as plentifully as the deep waters of the Mississippi.

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Bread and circuses.

Volcano, Vaudeville Theatre, London

The eponymous volcano rumbles ominously in the distance and the skies darken. It’s the Pathetic Fallacy in full throttle as extramarital desire correspondingly seethes and churns amongst the cocktail-swiggers gathered on the verandah of Adela, a widowed forty-something plantation owner.

Gore Vidal (above) has yet to respond to the latest volley from Christopher Hitchens in their increasingly vitriolic feud

Author Gore Vidal dies at 86

Celebrated author, playwright and commentator Gore Vidal has died at the age of 86, his nephew said today.

Eve Mutso as Blanche DuBois finds comfort with Erik Cavallari in <i>A Streetcar Named Desire</i>

A Streetcar Named Desire, Sadler's Wells, London

Tennessee Williams as dance? I do declare! But Scottish Ballet triumphs with a perfectly told tale

The Cherry Orchard, National Theatre: Olivier, London

Despair and laughter in equal doses

Kingdom of Earth, Print Room, London

"Baby, you got a mother complex and I'm gonna make you forget it," the vivacious Myrtle, with a can-do waggle of her lime-green thighs, informs her droopy husband of two days in Lucy Bailey's brilliant, blackly wacky and sometimes tenderly hilarious revival of this Tennessee Williams rarity from 1967. Alas, Myrtle would have about as much luck weaning Norman Bates off his mother as reorient the ailing, secretly TB-ridden and maternally fixated Lot who has inherited the piss-elegant, antique-filled home where mummy and he used to preen preciously as a two-person-band against the rednecks endemic in this district of the Mississippi Delta.

Paul Taylor: A cock-up at the Cock, but a first night not to miss

"Infinitely worth seeing" was The Independent's verdict on the unholy hilarity and aching beauty of Gene David Kirk's superlative production of A Cavalier for Milady. But now this world premiere of a late Tennessee Williams play has become the production it is absolutely impossible to see.

Dangerous stairs bring the curtain down on theatre at cutting edge

The Victorian era is not generally regarded as one that greatly contributed to the progress of British theatre – and now the architecture of the age has scuppered a modern production.

A Cavalier for Milady, Cock Tavern, London

The new Cock's old cock Tennessee Williams season has comprised two short world premieres: one early, and now one late; A Cavalier for Milady, thought to have been written around 1979, is the only published Williams play remaining hitherto unperformed, a real collector's item, and infinitely worth seeing.

New Orleans: Decadence and drama in the Delta

Tennessee Williams, who was born 100 years ago today, drew inspiration from the characters who lived in America's Deep South. Chris Coplans follows in the playwright's footsteps
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