Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Written by Edward Albee, Directed by Gemma Bodinetz
Liverpool Playhouse, 1st-23rd April 2005 (not Sundays), £5-£18
The first performances of this play caused quite a stir in 1962. The
world seemed to be on the brink of nuclear annihilation, so theatregoers
wanted to relax and forget their troubles, but instead they were put through
the emotional wringer by this tale of humiliation and betrayal.
Frustrated History professor George (Ian Bartholomew) and his frustrated
wife Martha (Denise Black) have been married for twenty years, but their
relationship seems to have been anything but peaceful. When they invite
up-and-coming young academic Nick (Nick Court) and his child-like wife
Honey (Kaye Wragg) back for some after-party drinks, the older couple
engage in brutal and savage mind games that blur the line between reality
and fantasy, truth and lies, love and hate.
This is another excellent production by Everyman and Playhouse Artistic
Director Gemma Bodinetz. Despite the performance clocking at over three
hours, the cast manage to keep up the frenzied pace throughout. The American
dream has long since died, so those who remember this play or its film
version from way back when may find it slightly dated. If you’re
new to the antics of the not-so-dynamic duo, the shock value of the humiliation
and betrayals has been stripped away by endlessly rerun talk shows and
reality TV. But either way, this is a classy version of a classic play.