first night

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

Lara Dolden sees Fourth Wall Theatre's take on the modern American masterpiece.

 Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” is a play questioning appearances; it invites the audience to be voyeurs to two relationships: picture-perfect newlyweds, Nick and Honey, and an embittered and resentful George and Martha, exploring the potentially destructive nature of love. Fourth Wall Theatre invited us into the lounge, and subsequently the sick marital games, of George and Martha, whose unnerving marriage left the audience not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

Sasoon Moskofian and Sarah Slimani expertly portrayed the dysfunctional George and Martha, capturing the indignation of a long-enduring couple and cleverly intonating pet names to demonstrate the fine line between playful and cruel. Albee’s witty and difficult sparring matches were well delivered, although a general note for the cast would be that diction and volume were sometimes an issue. Lydia Feerick’s portrayal of naïve newlywed, and aptly named, Honey provided necessary comic relief and her giggly performance beautifully complemented Slimani’s jaded and sarcastic Martha. Scenes between the two males, Adam Simpson (Nick) and Moskofian were particularly enjoyable, and exemplary of how staging was used so effectively to illustrate power struggle between characters; the staging throughout is something which director Penny Babakhani should definitely be commended for.

The play really showcased the talent and versatility of the four actors involved; all characters delivered consistently throughout the three acts, and excelled at seamless transitions between the complex emotions, as well as achieving comic timing. Slimani especially had a magnetic stage presence, simultaneously manipulative and sympathy-evoking.

Despite the bleak subject matter, the cast are captivating and I would go as far as to say it is one of the strongest pieces of theatre I have seen in Durham.

23 October 2015

The views expressed in the reviews and comments on this page are those of the reviewer, and are not representative of the views of DST or Durham University.
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