Reviewed by: Sandi Durell

The unrelenting hostility and vitriolic attacks continue 50 years later in Edward Albee’s sensational ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” currently at the Booth Theatre until February 24, 2013, as George and Martha stick the knife in each other and turn, turn, turn.

George, played to the hilt by Tracy Letts (award winning playwright “August: Osage County), brings new meaning to the words hostility and debasement, as he and wife Martha (Amy Morton) play out their love-hate relationship physically and emotionally in a duel to the finish.

When they return from a party thrown by Martha’s father, who is President of the University at which George is Associate Professor in the English Department, it is 2 a.m. and they are sufficiently inebriated already throwing zingers at each other. However, they await a visit from the new young biology professor, sexy Nick (Madison Dirks), and his plain, booze-guzzling small-hipped wife Honey (Carrie Coon); Martha insistently calling him a math teacher. Little do Nick and Honey know they are entering an asylum-like den about to become a meal for the savage couple waiting to spring. Martha continues her insults of George in a sea of years of disappointment for his lack of ambition, as he brings her to her knees literally and figuratively.

 Insults fly and sting, but with Letts’ inventive grasp of language, humorously – the yin/yang of this couple’s cruelty and scorn seemingly boundless. Nick and Honey are prey for the taking as the games laid out by George grow more serious. Honey’s only escape – – throwing up after ingesting oodles of Brandy and sleeping curled up on the cold bathroom floor as Martha seduces Nick. The one constant – drink, drink, drink and spew abuse.

It’s takes over three hours and two intermissions and there isn’t much breathing room as we’re riveted to the mesmerizing performances by this foursome, brilliantly directed by Pam MacKinnon in this updated Steppenwolf Theatre Company production.

The interior of the well-worn, messy campus house, filled with books and old furniture, designed by Todd Rosenthal with lighting by Allen Lee Hughes.

A definite Must See! Booth Theatre, West 45th Street, NYC

Photo: Michael Brosilow