Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?



WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, Red Wolf Theatre Company, at Center Theater. Undoubtedly there are some who've never read or seen Edward Albee's classic three-act domestic civil war, pissing contest, and decimation of the myth of the American dream. Those people should certainly check out this faithful, generally competent, intermittently moving production. But for everyone else there's this caveat: very little in Red Wolf's production, directed by Peter Toran, approaches the level of the Mike Nichols film or Circle Theater's recent production.

David Tatosian and Susan Block are familiarly bilious and snarling as the impotent fortysomething history professor George and his braying, alcoholic wife Martha. Mike McNamara and Cheryl Lynn Golemo as their guests--a young stud biology professor and his wife who become unwittingly involved in George and Martha's power games--give more notable performances. McNamara is particularly convincing as the opportunistic Nick, who represents the faceless new generation that will stop at nothing to succeed. Golemo seems a bit too smart for the thankless part of his dippy, miserable, sexually repressed wife Honey, both playing the role and stepping outside it to comment on its absurdity.

But ultimately George and Martha must carry the play, and Tatosian in particular delivers every other line with the same sarcastic, condescending grin. Neither he nor Block demonstrates the charm or depth needed to make listening to the last desperate battle between this archetypal American couple anything more than a headache-inducing chore.

--Adam Langer

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