Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Review 1996

Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf? is about a frustrated, explosive woman called Martha, who taunts her quiet, stewing husband, George, about his failures in life. However, when Nick & Honey, a young married couple, come to visit for a drink late in the evening, they get entwined in Martha and George's hurtful games that they play.

Edward Albee proves you don't have to have a lot of action in a play to make it effective. You only need great writing, and Albee without doubt wrote a gem with this one.

The full house at the Aldwych witnessed some fine performances tonight from all four of the cast. Particularly Diana Rigg and David Suchet, who play Martha and George. Rigg is superb as a deceptive woman hiding her feelings and secrets and treating her husband appallingly. This has got to be one of the finest performances of her career, very believable and convincing. The same goes for David Suchet, who for me gave the best performance of the night . He played the part of George, to perfection, a mild mannered husband who takes all the insults from his wife in his stride, but occasionally losing control. Lloyd Owen and Clare Holman play the other couple adequately and impressively.

Lasting over 3 hours this is a long play, and while there are some scenes that are a little tedious and overlong, most of the play is mesmerizing and compulsive. I expect the play to have a long run and I highly recommend you don't miss this fine production.

(Darren Dalglish)

Every once in a while, you see a production that just grabs you and doesn't let you go. This is that type of show.

I have grown into middle age with this play. The movie came out as I was entering college. I had not seen a stage production until now. It was interesting how my perspective has changed. In 1966, George and Marsha seemed quite foreign. Now, they look much more familiar. I feel that the play has aged well.

All of the performances were very good but Diana Rigg and David Suchet were of a different realm, even better than Taylor and Burton in the film. Suchet was particularly convincing as George playing a very good balance of contempt and compassion for Martha.

This play is over 3 hours but it passed almost too quickly as you knew that you were experiencing truly great theatre. I had a seat on the front row center. This was perfect as the stage was canted perfectly for viewing. It seemed that the performance was just for me.

I had occasion to speak briefly with the actors after the performance. They were all quite gracious but I was amused that Miss Rigg and Mr. Owen were concerned that their accents were accurate as they could immediately discern that I was American.

This play is not to be missed!

(Thomas Kobbermann)

Originally published on

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