l-r: Kevin McNulty, Gabrielle Rose, Craig Erickson and Meg Roe
Gabrielle Rose and Kevin McNulty


Blackbird Theatre

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? by Edward Albee

Dates and Venue 28 December - 16 January @ 7.30pm & 2pm Saturdays/Sundays | The Cultch, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Damned good play, and damned good actors. This classic modern drama, whether it was written and produced in the last century, or whether it's done today or tomorrow, will live on. Such modern American dramas as this one and those of Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams will stay on so long as humankind is in existence.

When you have a darned good play as this one is, and stellar actors like Gabrielle Rose, Kevin McNulty, Meg Roe, and Craig Erickson. the chemistry works out just perfectly. Although I found McNulty's speech a bit too fast and bumpy (for being spoiled too much on TV acting, I suppose), everything else was theatre as theatre should be.

Gabrielle Rose was the perfect bitch spewing four or more profane letter words, which I believe is the later version of Albee's revision to the 1960s script where even the word "screw" wasn't allowed on stage. Meg Roe was a delight with her contagious laughter, and Erickson was perfectly cast as the golden boy with the "golden groins", the Nazi prototype of the superman.

The Cultch has been beautifully rebuilt, but the seats remain the same. I still could hear the old seat springs going "boing-boing" and you'd think it was part of the sound effects. But despite that, the opening night audience was as quiet as white mice intently focused on every line, every movement of the actors.

The set was beautifully designed, a typical college professor's home with books stacked in the living room, and naturally, a minibar with lots of booze. That's what fuels this play--booze and more booze, as the professor and his wife play their secret games, and their guests, victims of their word wars.

Although this is mostly an actor's play, you need a good director to get the chemistry going. And John Wright did just that.

Blackbird Theatre has in the past five years been presenting classics from such authors as Pinter, Ibsen, Schiller and Euripedes and they are currently preparing Dickens' Great Expectations in 2010. Wright's message in the programme states that despite BC cutbacks in the Arts, they're making an effort to "ensure that Blackbird does not succumb".

I wish them all the best because this is a damned good theatre company.

© 2009 Ed Farolan