But, boy, did Cowan exude danger and power. At times I felt he was overstating the boorish, crude manners — give him a beer bottle and he’ll virtually swallow it whole — but he’s riveting when he lolls, swaggers, flexes his biceps, lets rip with a violent gesture or a big, hoarse bellow. He’s the ferocious bull in the porcelain parlour that’s Blanche DuBois. Benedict Nightingale Times Online
Readers may be familiar with the 1951 movie adaptation staring Marlon Brandon as Stanley with big arms and bigger mouth, woefully yelling Stelllaaa from streetside to his wife in their second floor apartment in New Orleans. Actress Vivien Leigh won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the fading southern belle who had a fondness for underage boys and booze. In a nice six degree of separation, Leigh also stared as Blanche in the 1949 stage production in London at the Aldwych Theatre, which was directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier who also portrayed Mr. Darcy in the 1940 movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
In a review by Phil and Andrew of the West End Wingers blog, they mention that Elliot Cowan’s performance as Stanley was "excellent, but alarmingly muscular." Another article in Metro.co.uk reports his biceps are like oak trees! Given that his costar Rachel Weisz was also struck by how buff her co-star Elliot Cowan looked, the actor known for his commitment to physical fitness must really be aproaching amazing Hulk status.
"You seem to be getting bigger every day," she told him during rehearsals.
Cowan, who plays the brutish Stanley Kowalski, tells me he had taken up boxing to give him the muscles his part required.
His exacting exercise routine afforded other advantages apart from the admiring looks from Miss Weisz. "It means I can eat as much as I like as every calorie gets burned off," he says.
This Mr. Darcy must be sporting less than the iconic wet white shirt!
- Review by BBC News
- Review in The Independent
- Review in The Telegraph
- Check out the opening night party photos at What's On Stage