Originally staged over 55 years ago, the stirring dissection of dysfunctional relationships and the deconstruction of self-perception is still able to grasp the attention of an audience, even if they are unfairly thin on the ground.
Following a faculty soirée at her father's home, Martha and husband George invite younger couple Nick and Honey over for an all-nightcap. With liquor flowing, the four begin to unfurl the other and get to the nitty gritty of each other's lives. Through intricate mind games with ever-changing rules, Martha and George take pride in humiliating both each other and their less bitter guests. As secrets and lies trip off tongues, the strength within these opposing relationships is shattered.
Whether overshadowed by a production much further south starring the one and only Imelda Staunton, or undesirable due to its whopping three and half hour running time, the turn-out at this production could not go unnoticed. However, the few that did attend for the lengthy look at a couple's seemingly unfathomable relationship were not disappointed.
Albee’s classic is crammed with witty retorts, psychological warfare and four characters who are forever changed by the clashing of their own insecurities. Sara Stewart and Robin Kingsland offer an intense experience for anyone in the room with their overt portrayal of Martha and George. Clinging to their secret, this couple barter with their personal experiences to floor the other, unconcerned of who may crash down in their wake.
Act three sees their performances drift into melodrama before crashing to the floor with the rawest of emotion. With each act climaxing in its own right, this demise comes as a slight relief, knowing that the end is almost in sight.
With two intervals, it is true that this play is almost as exhausting as attending after-party drinks with your boss’s family, yet these hosts entice you with their liquor soaked games and irrational ideals.
Runs at King's Theatre until Saturday 27th May
Tickets available at Edtheatres.com.