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First-Rate Cast Gives Searing Performance

May 16 2006
Hap Erstein | Palm Beach Post

Even in its recently revised, slightly truncated form, Edward Albee's epic drama of self-deception, gamesmanship and whiskey-soaked truth-telling, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is an emotional 3 1/4-hour marathon. But as Palm Beach Dramaworks well knows, there are few plays written in the 20th century that are as riveting and rewarding, particularly when performed by the first-rate cast that director William Hayes has assembled. Understandably, George and Martha are towering assignments that require enormous stamina and skill. Although they were cast long ago, Dramaworks has a coup in reuniting the two actors who won Carbonell Awards last month for leading roles - Gordon McConnell and Lisa Morgan. While a repeat would be a long shot, in Virginia Woolf they each exceed their winning work with performances that will be talked about for a long time to come. ...Nick and Honey can fade into the background, but Clive Cholerton and Margery Lowe forge vivid characterizations. He particularly impresses as a well-mannered opportunist who gradually learns the games being played, tries his hand at them, but is no match for either George or Martha. Lowe, Cholerton's real-life wife, has the least stage time, but she establishes Honey quickly with an annoying-endearing nervous titter, then shows that there is more to this meek human appendage than we first suspect. Hayes modulates the evening with a steady hand, cashing in on the numerous memorable moments without losing sight of the whole. Michael Amico provides a lived-in New England cottage, notably absent of warmth or personal touches. are ready for a searing theatrical experience of the kind that is all too rare in South Florida, do not be afraid to spend a few hours with George, Martha and Virginia Woolf.