Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A lesson in being mean

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Originally uploaded by andrewkeegantheatre.

Courtesy of Lex's good (and generous) friend Val, I went along to the opening night performance of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" starring Kathleen Turner.

The performances were just wonderful and I had forgotten how powerful the play is. I had seen the film version with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton many years ago so, admittedly, I had forgotten much of the story. I just recalled there was lots of poisonous dialogue and some caustic one-liners as George and Martha just about tear one another apart.

The play was terribly well structured on stage, broken up into three Acts, and so there were two short intermissions throughout. Rather than being disruptive, it helped diffuse the tension. At times, the play was laugh-out-loud funny and then, at other times, you squirmed in your seat and felt really uncomfortable being a part of the couple's drama.

Kathleen Turner was fantastic. She was playful, vicious, but appropriately wounded when her fights with her on-stage husband took a nasty turn. And that said, the role of George (played in this production by Bill Irwin) was amazing. You think he's long-suffering and hard done-by, but then he turns and you realise that he's been playing alongside Martha and been an utter bastard all along. No wonder Bill Irwin won a Tony Award for this role on Broadway, he was great.

Granted, me and Lex came out of the theater and had one of those joint "What The?!" moments, as we both tried to work out what the hell we'd just seen. Had we understood it properly? Maybe I'll rent the DVD and remind myself how Liz and Richard did it...

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