BWW Reviews: Deliciously Vicious Production of WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF at Spark Theatre
In the 50th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning classic, Spark Theater presents WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf playing now through February 16th. There's on one who can spit venom quite like George and Martha, a middle-aged couple whose WASPy stings are aimed at a new professor and his young wife. When the after party gets soaked in gin, and secrets get spilled, there no going back to the life that was built so precariously on the couple's broken past. This Tony-award winning play still packs the same punch that it did exactly 50 years ago.
First I have to say that this show was deliciously mean and every actor pushed themselves for a most twisted, head-spinning and enjoyable evening that the audience ate up. The show may be a little long, but you get lost in the words and these amazing, intense performances. What I noticed most of all were the actor's actions and reactions to every word and the stings and jabs were just fun. At first, I thought that this show was all about who had the upper hand, but as you become more involved with these passionate characters, you realize that every word and drink is to mask an inner pain. Ultimately -truth or illusion it's all a game to them. It was fascinating to watch that cynicism is contagious and by the end, everyone had been affected.
George Todd Black was at the height of his craft in his bitter interpretation of George. Each word spoken was calculating and articulate and his attacks on everyone in the house were truly fascinating to watch. Equally as good was Suzanne Nepi as his dynamic alcoholic wife, Martha. Her character had such range and you could not take your eyes off of her as she completely drew you in. Her overt sexual harassment was humorous and fun. I was a little skeptical of Nate Axtell as Nick, but his performance was quite memorable. He truly showed the dimension of his character in Act Two and was enjoyable to watch. His wife Honey, played by Julie K. Butters was just adorable and naive. Her descent into drunkenness was absolutely hilarious and a delight to watch.
The set was very shabby chic and was thoroughly thought out in every detail. The props by Beki Pineda completely set the scene with the vintage furniture and each component was perfect. I also loved the programs by designer Michael Emmitt that gave the appearance of a whiskey bottle. Bernie Cardell should be commended for really pulling out not only this talent in this vicious and intense play, but also keeping everything flowing and overlapping with ease. The actors really took the words and the killing wit to heart which is why the comedy truly came out in this show; and the words were easy to understand and flowed like honey.
You do not want to miss this stellar production that features actors at the height of their craft. WHO'S AFRAID OF Virginia Woolf is enthralling audiences now through February 16th. Spark Theater is located at 985 Santa Fe Drive in the Santa Fe Arts District. Performances at Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 7:30pm. For tickets or more information, contact the box office online at www.sparktheater.org.
Suzane Nepi who plays Martha and Todd Black as George
Todd Black as George and Suzane Nepi as Martha
From This Author Michael Mulhern