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David Porter » Reviews » Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich

Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 25 April 2009

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Oh the games people play! Many will remember the the 1960s’ Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton shock film of the relationship between a long married couple and their ‘son’.

This stage version in the audience-proximity of the Sewell Barn puts us right in among the tension as dialogue overlaps, tempers fray and the very edge of tolerance is reached.

George (Noel Jones) and Martha (Cassie Tillett) torment each other like cat and mouse and include their younger visitors, Honey (Louise Humphrey) and Nick (Andy Cowan).

It’s all cruel, verbal, personal and generational sparring through merciless games as the long night wears on, fuelled by alcohol and weariness.

It’s powerful stuff, not only directed superbly by Jenny Hobson, but acted outstandingly by all four protagonists who sustain tension, rip bandages from each others’ wounds, exposing raw nerves and weaknesses.

It’s a masterpiece of the disappointed optimism of youth, the cynicism of middle age and the fantasies we weave to cope. It’s very funny in places with a dark, gallows humour.

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