The University of Adelaide Theatre Guild presents Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Little Theatre, The Cloisters on campus.
This American classic, written in 1962, won the 1963 Tony Award for best play and the 1962-63 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best play amongst many awards. It was adapted to film in 1966 with Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis winning Academy Awards for the two lead female roles.
This production, directed by Geoff Brittain, succeeds in both entertaining the audience as well as taking them through the uncomfortable roller coaster of George and Martha’s failing marriage.
The original set is ’60s, when American culture promoted the myth of the perfect patriarchal family. However Brittain has set the play in the present to reflect society’s gradual, but reluctant, acceptance that behind closed doors dysfunction is the norm rather than exception.
The strong cast handled Albee’s brilliant but manic dialogue with sensitivity, extracting emotion and black humour appropriate with the ebb and flow of this psychological drama.
Chris Leech was convincing as abrasive but flawed history professor George. Julie Quick ably portrayed the liveliness, baiting sarcasm, sex appeal and humour of Martha. Mark Healy and Jessica Carroll play their “Brad and Janet” roles well as they get gradually immersed into the psychological games of the older couple.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has less impact for a generation brought up with mutually negotiated roles and less stereotyped expectations in relationships. This production still manages to present a worthwhile, shocking and funny piece of classic live theatre evidenced by a standing ovation from the appreciative audience.
University of Adelaide Theatre Guild is presenting Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Little Theatre, North Terrace Campus, until August 22.
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