This much-garlanded revival of Edward Albee’s pitch-black comedy play about the toxic lives of two American academics and their wives deserves, for our money, every supportive word, much as the 1966 film with Elizabeth Taylor as Martha, husband Richard Burton as her husband George, George Segal as the predatory Nick and Sandy Dennis as his wife fully merited all its Academy nominations and awards.
This four-hander is playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre in Panton Street, London and all four players are superb, with Imelda Staunton as the boozy, flirty Martha, Conlith Hill as her turning worm husband George, with their guests for late-night drinks Imogen Poots as the mousey wife Honey who can’t hold her liquor and Luke Treadaway as her husband Nick who can, but who becomes more attracted to floosie Martha, with some encouragement from Gearge, with every swig. So the stage is set for the drinks party from hell, with nasty jibes and jokes in equal measure as the cruel truth about the corrosive nature of the relationships emerges. When Martha pours herself over Nick off-stage and calls out to George that she is necking with one of their two young guests George reterts, to Martha’s fury “Which one?” And there’s worse, much worse to come, for your entertainment.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? plays until May 27. Catch it if you can.