Almeida theatre cancels performances of A Streetcar Named Desire as actor withdraws | Theatre

London’s Almeida theatre has cancelled the first week of performances of A Streetcar Named Desire as one of its lead actors, Lydia Wilson, has withdrawn for health reasons.

Patsy Ferran will take over the role of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ New Orleans drama, which will now have its first preview on 17 December. All performances from 12-16 December have been cancelled.

The play is one of the capital’s hottest theatre tickets this winter. Aftersun and Normal People star Paul Mescal is playing Stanley and Anjana Vasan (We Are Lady Parts) is playing Stella. It is directed by Rebecca Frecknall, whose award-winning revival of Cabaret is running at the West End’s Playhouse theatre.

Patsy Ferran in Camp Siegfried at the Old Vic, London, in 2021.
Patsy Ferran in Camp Siegfried at the Old Vic, London, in 2021. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Frecknall directed Ferran in the Almeida’s 2018 production of Summer and Smoke by Williams. That show, wrote the Guardian’s Michael Billington, confirmed Ferran as “one of the most exciting actors on the British stage”. It later transferred to the West End. Ferran and Frecknall reunited for Chekhov’s Three Sisters at the Almeida. Wilson worked with Frecknall on the Almeida’s The Duchess of Malfi in 2019.

Last week, in an interview with the Observer, Vasan described Wilson as “a force of nature” in the role of Blanche, and said Frecknall “strips away your expectations and begins very simply with the actors and our instincts. We build the story together, patiently and rigorously.”

A Streetcar Named Desire will have its official press night on 12 January and runs until 4 February.