IT is some 11 years since Scottish Ballet’s acclaimed adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Streetcar Named Desire made its premiere. Created by theatre director Nancy Meckler with choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, this outstanding piece is established firmly in the company’s repertoire, as attested by this, the latest of a series of revivals on both sides of the Atlantic.

This stunning return is as vivid and compelling as its predecessors. Between them, the director and choreographer (not to mention composer Peter Salem, designer Nicola Turner and lighting designer Tim Mitchell) have created a dance work that is brilliantly cohesive and impressively attuned, not only to Williams’s story, but also to its emotive and, still in 2023, reverberating subtexts.

For instance, in the opening scenes – in which Meckler and Lopez Ochoa, bravely, take time to reflect on the back story of the “fallen” Southern belle Blanche DuBois – the piece articulates, in anguished movement and plaintive music, the power of memory in Williams’s play. Marge Hendrick is superb in the role of Blanche (which was danced so memorably by Eve Mutso in the original production), balancing evocatively between the glamour of her character’s youth, and the fictitious allure she has tried to maintain in her painful decline.

One can’t help but imagine that Williams would have approved very much of the ballet’s representation of the story of young Blanche’s husband, Allan Grey (the excellent Javier Andreu). From a few spoken memories in the play, director and choreographer have woven a deeply affecting depiction of homophobic repression and its tragic consequences.

From the irrepressible force of memory in Blanche’s life (up to and including the loss of her family’s colonial pile, Belle Reve), we see Hendrick’s character crash, in desperation, into the neon-lit reality that is the life of her sister, Stella (who is danced with sensitivity and pathos by Bethany Kingsley-Garner). The piece turns, atmospherically, on a sixpence, not only in movement, but in music, set design, costumes and lighting.

Suddenly, with startling immediacy, we find ourselves in the steamy, jazzy world of late-1940s New Orleans. Here, the faux gentility of Blanche’s invented self clashes brutally with the machismo of Stella’s husband Stanley (Ryoichi Hirano achieving an unlikely combination of jazz-inspired grace and, ultimately, horrifyingly toxic masculinity).

From here on, the ballet achieves a remarkable and tragic duet in which a pungent and palpable present dances agonisingly with a painfully remembered (or cruelly exposed) past. The evocation of the repetition of the men’s rituals (strutting their stuff at the bowling alley, playing poker at Stanley’s apartment) is typical of the show’s unerring ability to translate the visual implications of Williams’s text into the language of dance.

The nightmarish scene in which Blanche is inundated by multiple representations of the letter that has secured her downfall is emblematic of the ballet’s capacity for great, visually impressive, metaphorical moments.

Now on a tour, this astonishingly complete dance work is set to enthral audiences from Edinburgh to Orkney.

Touring until June 30: