Review: WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? at Fulton Theatre

Albee's classic is alive on the Fulton stage.

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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? recently exploded onto the Fulton's fourth floor stage. The classic Edward Albee play is an intense and volatile story of the frailties of marriage and the overlap of reality and illusion.

Scenic designer, Gwendolyn Cox places the action in a scholarly, yet claustrophobic 1960's living room. The lack of space gives the audience a sense of discomfort and unease, probably not at all unlike the feelings of Nick and Honey, the hosts' invited guests.

Jeffrey Coon plays George, the shlubby history professor past his prime. Coon conveys all the insecurities and frustrations of a man who feels shortchanged in life. He has a unearned smugness about him to overcompensate for his insecurities.

Kim Carson is electrifying as his wife, Martha. Carson embeds a sexual confidence in her character which is always on display. Whether viciously mocking her husband or intensely seducing her new boy toy, Carson pulls out all the stops.

An early scene where George and Martha fight over who is going to answer the door provided amazing insight into Martha's persona. At one point, she grows coldly silent and stares chillingly at her husband. Carson is amazing in her ability to convey intimidation and power through nothing more than a dirty look.

The party guests are expertly played by Spencer Davis Milford (Nick) and Bailey Blaise (Honey). Milford doesn't play his character as especially naïve or inexperienced. He is just a typical guy who walked into George and Martha's living room and reacts in a similar manner as if he just met the Addam's family.

Blaise's Honey is flighty and playful. She embeds the dutiful but dumb stereotype of a young housewife of the early 1960's. Milford and Blaise have good rapport and connect well throughout the entire show.

Prospective audiences should know that this is a very long show. Approximately three hours with two, 10 minute intermissions. With four characters, one set, and minimal action, it feels long. However, theatrically, this is somewhat of a positive. The audience can better experience the interminable bickering and harassing and humiliating that goes on at this nightcap from Hell. They can also squirm in their seats or check their watches from time to time not unlike the very uncomfortable Nick and Honey. It's an effective trick, one that pays off during the show's explosive and cathartic climax.

Tickets for the show are available for performances now through April 16.

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