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

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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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Experts at belittling each other, George and Martha indulge in Olympic-level imbibing as they entertain and undermine a younger couple who lack the illusions--what Ibsen called the "life lies"--that sustain a marriage. In Edward Albee's classic, George goes too far, and by the play's end these two seasoned fighters must face their feelings. Rich with telling mood shifts but feeling longer than it should, Charles Newell's staging underlines the fun behind the games before miring the characters in recrimination and betrayal. Kevin Gudahl's passive-aggressive but often heartbreaking George cracks and wisecracks, usually at the same time. Barbara E. Robertson lacks the faded majesty of Albee's "earth mother" but shows how Martha's thwarted maternal instincts have been twisted into sexual predation. Whitney Sneed finds the heartbreak in hysteria as the younger woman, but the cerebral Lance Stuart Baker seems miscast as her muscular but hollow husband.Through 10/24: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 and 7:30 PM. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis, 773-753-4472. $35-$50.

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