Pulse Theatre stages one of the most well-known works of all time, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Directed by Chris Jackson, the production seeks to put a new spin on Albee's oft-told tale with its diverse casting, but it ultimately does little else to justify yet another revival of this spectacular but perhaps overly produced play.
That's not to suggest that the production is poorly executed overall--lead actor Nicholia Q. Aguirre, for instance, brings an intense rawness and realism to Martha, a character that can be easy to hate and hard to understand. Aguirre makes Martha's inner vulnerabilities clearer, taking the audience on an emotional journey that truly feels like it lasts the whole night thanks to her ability to layer each moment on top of the last. As her husband George, Lewis R. Jones holds his own against her; it is clear that his actions are calculated deliberate.
On the other side of the scale, Kate Robison (Honey) and Adam Zaininger (Nick) fail to make much of an impression. Robison's Honey is a most basic interpretation, and Zaininger is one-note throughout, never showing any emotion other than anger. Misguided pacing, increased by too many low energy moments, dull the shine of a production that could have been truly incredible.
Most importantly, other than the actors themselves bringing their interpretations to Albee's script, the production provides little else--no unique staging, bold choices, or interesting technical elements, etc--to stand out amongst the countless other presentations of the same script. At three hours and twenty minutes, one yearns for more than such an elemental interpretation of the play. In short, if you've seen a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf before, you already know what you'll see on stage at City Lit.
Reviewed by Jason Berger
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf continues through August 20th at City Lit Theatre. More information here.
The Hawk Chicago is featured on TheatreinChicago's Review Round-Up.
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