"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF ?
AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF ?
Theatre Workshop at the Old Court
evening with George and Martha is not a comfortable experience.
fact the evening is past, and we're into the small hours. They return
home after a faculty party, already the worse for wear, and are
joined by a younger couple, a reluctant audience who watch, and
drink, as game-play turns to total war, the dialogue punctuated by
the clink of ice and the slam of glass on wood.
Albee's play has lost none of its impact in the fifty years since it
was written; Joe Kennedy's powerful production opts for a
naturalistic, almost improvisatory style. We thereby risk losing some
of the rhythms and structure of the dialogue. And some of the words,
too, as the rows and the recriminations echo around the Old Court.
But we gain an edgy, raw immediacy that forces us to stay up till
almost dawn in the company of these four flawed individuals, through
"Fun and Games", "Walpurgisnacht" and "The
Exorcism", wondering what is true, what is lies.
demanding piece needs accomplished actors, and the CTW's excellent
quartet do not disappoint. Kelly McGibney, braying, bawling, baiting,
gives a memorable Martha, vulnerable beneath the bravado, and lets us
see the human being behind the wreck she has become. Her kimono
monologue was superbly done. Well matched by Dave Hawkes as George,
haunted by failure, trapped in a destructive relationship, but gamely
battling on, sparring desperately with Martha. A promising CTW début
from Rhiannon Regan as the dim, bubbly Honey, knocking back the
brandy and trying to keep up. Jacob Burtenshaw seems slightly
underpowered as her husband Nick, but this buttoned-up approach makes
a good contrast with the emotional incontinence of the others; the
moments when he does stand up to George's bullying are all the more
get the uncomfortable feeling that this couple may be destined to go
the same sad way as George and Martha...
the many memorable scenes: George's monologue about the boy in the
Gym, the pacey Get The Guests sequence, the strong end to Act II, and
the sofa grouping at the start of Act III, which is echoed very
effectively at the end of the play.
George ironically remarks, a nice evening, all things considered.