Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Theatre Royal, Glasgow.

1 June 2017

It seems fitting that my first blog post, since returning to blogging, is a theatre review, because theatre will always be my first love. I do love lipstick and shoes are definitely a close second love to the theatre but if I only had enough money to buy a theatre ticket or a pair of shoes the theatre would win hands down. 

And sometimes I’d regret that decision, because you can be a theatre lover without loving all theatre (shock horror, I know!) but sometimes that decision would be rewarded with riches far beyond a pair of shoes – and that would be the case had I had to make that decision regarding Rapture Theatre Co’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? that I went to see last night at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. 

There’s a certain level of dedication required to pulling off a play as well as this one was, and so I wasn’t surprised to read in the program afterwards (I never read nay director’s notes or interviews beforehand so that I don’t get influenced in what to look for in the play) that director Michael Emans had wanted to do this play for nearly 15 years, because this is a play that is executed with precision in every single line. There’s not one dud line in this play, everything contributes something and that’s not always the way of it. Of course, in theory, the responsibility of that lies with the writer – in this case the genius Edward Albee – but in the hands of a director with less finesse, less talent and less reverence for the play any bard’s words can lose something. In this play I was hanging on to every line. These characters are characters Emans has known, has lived with, has studied, and that shows.

What was particularly good about this production was that this did not become the Martha and George show. That’s not a criticism of Sara Stewart and Robin Kingsland who play the sordid couple, it’s a compliment, not only to them but again to the director and also to Paul Albertson and Rose Reynolds who play Nick and Honey.

Let’s get one thing straight – this play runs for 3 and a half hours. Martha and George may be the more obviously explosive couple but 3 and a half hours of dialogue in a still set can be exhausting and draining and not altogether the best experience. In this production the surface explosions of Martha and George and the way their pot boiled from the get go until it fully brimmed over in the ending was balanced so well by the simmering Nick and Honey, whose journey from simple, easily pleased and eager to please to something darker, richer and more complicated that I was gripped for the entire time. I tweeted at the first interval that if it hadn’t come when it did I thought my heart would have exploded from my chest from beating so hard, and I stand by that.

This play was 3 and a half hours of exploration into relationships with the self and with others. Into identities and how we perceive and are perceived. Into surface and depth.  Into truth and confrontation of truth and avoidance of truth. In short, 3 and a half hours of theatrical perfection. It was so bloody good I’ve booked a ticket to go see it again on Friday. I hope to see you there.

Book tickets for Rapture Theatre Co's Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf in the Theatre Royal, Glasgow here - http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/whos-afraid-of-virginia-woolf/theatre-royal-glasgow/

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