Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Posted by Mondschein

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" at the Booth Theatre, October 11, 2012

Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre returns to Broadway with the revival of Edward Albee's play about the battle that is marriage.

It hasn't been all that long since the last Rialto revival with Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin, so I was interested to see what this new production has to offer.  What we get is a solid retelling of the play, much like last season's revival of Death of a Salesman, proving again what a well-made play it is.  Beyond that, there's not much unique in this production.

One thing I did notice, was that Amy Morton's Martha has acceded some of the power to Tracy Letts' George right from the start.  Even though she brays and intimidates, it doesn't land with the same vitriol one usually experiences.  With that opportunity, Mr. Letts' George is now free to wield his sarcasm like a sword, slashing at Martha and their guests.

Speaking of, this Nick (Madison Dirks) and Honey (Carrie Coon), fall right in line behind whoever is spewing the venom.  Mr. Dirks captures the requisite loose athletic demeanor of Nick's football past.  Ms. Coon gives a nice turn as the besotted Honey, though not quite as fragile as other interpretations.

Director Pam MacKinnon keeps things moving fairly well, though there were a couple of slow spots in Act II as the party games transition from "humiliate the husband" to "get the guests."

Todd Rosenthal's large living room set captures the academic environment, but went a little overboard with the stacks of books literally everywhere.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is on an open-ended run.  Tickets here.

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