Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Yes, Albee's story of two troubled couples brought together for one excoriating night of accusations and revealed secrets has enough surprises and joltsand a lot of very dark humorthat its three-hour run time (with two intermissions) speeds past. Posner is working with four actors who understand that taking risks in their performances can result in notable rewards.
First among equals must be Holly Twyford as Martha, who gives an incandescent performance in the literal definition of the word, casting light into the dark corners of her character while also producing heat. She manages to synthesize Martha's loudness, her gleeful exhibitionism, and her insatiable desire for attention while revealing bits of her fear of abandonment and occasional despair. Costume designer Kelsey Hunt has dressed Martha in a way that showcases her (and Twyford's) physical attributes to their maximum advantage.
Gregory Linington plays George, Martha's long-suffering husband, with sly understatement through most of the drama; when he strikes back, he wraps the malice and aggression in snide or condescending humor. But for all that, he gives as good as he gets, bearing the blows that Martha inflicts but maintaining his dignity.
Tall, commanding Danny Gavigan gives a straightforward performance as Nick, the ambitious young professor, while Maggie Wilder (in another of Hunt's gems, a demure flowered dress with pearls) shows Honey's progression as she tries to keep up with the others and eventually becomes close to catatonic. The trip is uncomfortable, but it's also unforgettable.