Review: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

When your parents threaten divorce, just laugh uncomfortably.

When your parents threaten divorce, just laugh uncomfortably.

Photo courtesy of B Street Theatre

8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; $27-$39. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; Through October 29.
Rated 5.0

Edward Albee’s searing drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is about a middle-aged couple’s marriage that is careening toward a cliff, driven by alcohol and a mutually agreed-upon deception that unravels late one night in the presence of a younger, seemingly more innocent couple. It is loud, profane, provocative and presents a bitter take on love and life in America in the 1950s.

In the hands of B Street Theatre actors Kurt Johnson, Elisabeth Nunziato, Jason Kuykendall and Dana Brooke, as directed by Dave Pierini, it is devastating and breathtakingly brilliant. George (played by Johnson) and Martha (Nunziato, dripping with vitriol) are the older couple. He’s an academic stuck in the middle of his department’s faculty—not the head of it despite being married to the daughter of the school’s president (a fact she never lets him forget). Nick and Honey (Kuykendall and Brooke) are new additions to the faculty, and Martha invites the pair to a late-night party at her home, intent upon humiliating George by seducing Nick right in front of him. When Martha reveals to Honey that she and George have a son—a secret that was not to be shared—a long-standing tension between the couple rises to the point of violence. No one is exactly as he or she appears here, and the revelation of their true selves is harrowing for all concerned, including the audience.