Thursday, May 12, 2016

David's (Edward Albee's) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is completely marvellous. Aided and abetted by four excellent actors. And I'm not just saying that because I painted little bits of the set blue at the weekend so feel some shred of responsibility for getting the show on and up. It was wonderful.

There's a funny thing about seeing a show at 40 that you studied aged 16 and 17 at A'Level. My teenage self appreciated (loved) the dialogue, the drama, the deep dark despair that permeates the story. 

But I was lucky enough to have very little sense at that tender age of how horrible people can be to each other. Of how the things that you dream of and in fact, expect, when you're younger don't always quite pan out. So I daresay you appreciate the script at some level but extra (lucky) years of life instill it with a whole new sharply painful piquancy. 

Script aside, the production looked gorgeous. A cracking set, somehow claustrophobic and draughty with possibility at the same time. Costumes. Well, they lucked out with their costume designer who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art only to be (just) snapped up by the BBC. And with Gillian in charge, the props were always going to be seamless. 

The actors were the heroes. It's impossible (for me) not to compare any George and Martha with the (temporarily) blowsy Ms Taylor and the harried Mr Burton. But Richard and Mel were great. The cliches are limp through over-use. But you might legitimately say they were commanding.  

Richard was wonderfully put upon in his cardigan but Machiavellian in his insidious manipulation. Mel was falling out of her (glorious) dress vulgar and gorgeous and vulnerable and majestic. 

Kyle was blonde and beautiful as the preppy, pathetic, vaguely heartless not maths but biology lecturer. (Yup, I didn't like him - his character! - but I am so very happy that this guy is off to theatre school. He's magic.) And Caroline as little brittle hipless Honey. Oooft. Fragile enough that you feared she might break right there in front of you.

For maybe that was the extra special thing about this production. I've only seen the play staged once before, on the Dundee Rep stage. They were there and we, the audience, were over here. The marvellous thing that David did was put us, the audience, right around the voyeuristic edges of the living room. So we were almost complicit. Silent bystanders that did nothing to stop the ever escalating bizarre and bastard-ly antics. 

I've always wanted to direct this show. But now I'm glad that David got there first. Please go and see it. They're majestic. 


Blogger said...

Totally agree. It was a cold, menacing yet also vulnerable performance from Richard, an absolutely stunning portrayal of such a manipulative yet pathetic woman from Mel, and the young couple were brilliant. Caroline's expressions were fascinating as she listened then reacted to those friendly-cruel people playing their games and Kyle was utterly believable as the out-of-his-depth young teacher as the stories unfolded.

6:29 pm  

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