Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Theatre Review

I don’t always do theatre reviews because I don’t really consider myself well-versed in this area but I know a good performance when I see one and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? boasts not one but four. So of course I had to write a gushing post.

Imelda Staunton is Martha and Game of Thrones star Conleth Hill is George. They are a married couple filled with resentment and hate for one another. But their marriage doesn’t crumble in public, oh no, they decide to air their dirty laundry in front of younger couple Nick (Luke Treadaway) and Honey (Imogen Poots), who come round after a university faculty party.

This is a very famous play by Edward Albee but I’ve never seen it on the stage. I only know it from the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton film which is very dense and required a lot of concentration so I knew what I was getting myself in for.

At almost three hours, the play is a slog and is genuinely exhausting to watch. Me and my friends left minds blown, completely wiped out and impressed by the actors, who gave it their all. We were tired watching them so they must be so drained every time. I tried my hardest to concentrate all the time but there were several moments when I realised I’d switched off a little but in the most part, I was engrossed in it fully. The dialogue is so witty, sharp and cutting and the delivery is so powerful and purposeful that you can’t help but be drawn in.

All three except Poots are Olivier nominated (this is her West End debut tbf) so it’s not really a surprise that they were amazing. They give their all. Martha and George have so many different sides to their characters and they are pretty unlikable and they navigate this so, so well. I can’t praise their performances enough. Treadaway doesn’t get a ton to do in the first half but he really shines later on, especially when he dances with Martha and then they heavily make out. Poots’ character has a very annoying voice but that’s kinda the point and she’s drunk and so naive which makes her the much-needed comic relief, for the most part.

I can’t praise this enough. It isn’t enjoyable per se because it is heavy-going and the subject matter isn’t actually fun but it is worth a watch for the acting alone.

At the Harold Pinter Theatre until 27th May 

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