Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1V 7HD
Forgive the cliché, but if you haven’t already got a ticket for Edward Albee’s 1962 classic, beg, borrow or steal one. In Anthony Page’s splendid and first-rate production, the top notch all-American cast, fresh from their Broadway stint, make this an evening to remember.
Albee’s assessment of a marriage of 23 years provides an enthralling and painful tragedy. In blending raw humour and sensitive insight, it concentrates on the emotional games that are often played in relationships and the tensions that are often hidden under the carpet, but build to breaking point.
The action takes place in John Lee Beatty’s realistic living room of a house on the campus of a small New England college in 1960. Meet married couple Martha (Kathleen Turner) and George (Bill Irwin), the daughter of the university boss and a failed historian respectively. A much younger couple Nick (David Harbour) and Honey (Mireille Enos) arrive in their home. At first they watch the older couple’s grotesque arguing with incredulity, but are then slowly drawn into it.
Whilst all the cast are brilliant, it is the voluptuous Turner, with her familiar husky voice, who steals the show as the domineering and middle-aged deeply aggravated woman. Whilst hilarious, her putdowns to her husband – “If you existed, I’d divorce you” are heartbreaking reminders of her deep unhappiness. She may be exasperated by her lot. But the audience aren’t. Be sure to get one of the hottest tickets in town.
Director: Anthony Page
Writer: Edward Albee
Opened: 31st January 2006
Closing: 13th May 2006