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Review: Sylvaine Strike's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? is powerful, punchy and in your face

Review: Sylvaine Strike's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? is powerful, punchy and in your face

On stage at Theatre on the Bay and Montecasino Main Theatre

WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? has to be one of the most in-your-face pieces of theatre ever written, and it's as entertaining and relevant today as it was when it debuted 60 years ago. Under the exceptional direction of Sylvaine Strike, this incredible cast had me simultaneously wanting to hide and wanting to see more as the characters let all their dirty laundry hang out.

With three acts and two intervals, it's easy to be worried that you're in for a long night of theatre. However, with this team, the evening flew by and I was completely engrossed the whole way through. From the moment George and Martha (Alan Committie and Robyn Scott) walked in, I just knew that it was going to be an entertaining night - for the characters and the audience.

Committie and Scott played off each other beautifully. They had this intense friction and familiarity that felt like they truly could have been married for decades. It felt almost rude to sit and watch them pick at the old scabs of their relationship and push each other to their breaking points - and yet, I just couldn't look away.

Review: Sylvaine Strike's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? is powerful, punchy and in your face

As a foil to this almost grotesque couple, is the younger married couple of Nick and Honey (Sanda Shandu and Berenice Barbier). Their entrance was pitched perfectly - they couldn't have been more different to George and Martha. Watching them fall apart as the characters drank more and more was just delicious. I have to give a special shout out to Barbier for throwing herself into her character's break down so wholeheartedly, she made me laugh so hard. This is not an easy play for your professional stage debut but Barbier holds her own next to three seasoned and exceptional actors.

The overall attention to detail in this production of WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? blew me away. The choreography with the drinks table and the way the furniture was moved around on stage made everything feel alive - nothing was safe from the wicked games being played by George and Martha.

The production was designed by Wolf Britz and it was gorgeous. I loved the use of curtains to denote walls and entrance ways rather than the typical flats used in theatre to create box sets. The floaty fabrics lent themselves to the world of illusion that is so cleverly explored in the script. The illusion of how high society should behave, the illusion of marriage and happily ever after, as well as the incredible difference that can exist between the version of themselves that people show to the world versus what goes on behind closed doors.

All in all, I firmly believe that this production is more than worthy of marking the 60th anniversary of Edward Albee's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF?

Photo credit: Jesse Kramer

WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? is on stage at Theatre on the Bay until Saturday 8 October. It then moves to Montecasino Main Theatre in Johannesburg 14 October to 6 November. Tickets can be bought via Computicket.



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From This Author - Faeron Wheeler

Faeron is a Cape Town based actor, writer and producer who has been involved in theatre since she was only three years old. She studied drama and dancing throughout school and then went on to d... (read more about this author)


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