What is this? 'Spring in London - a job creation project for 5 American actors'? 'Pre-retirement reduced working - an easy 40 minutes for Dame Maggie'? Who on earth thought this play was worth putting on? A complete waste of 100 minutes of my life. - Gareth James
07 Jun 07
This may not have been a good choice to celebrate our anniversary but a) we've seen almost everything else, and b) this was an entertaining and ultimately uplifting story despite the bleak background of a slow and painful death. Act 1 is almost an updating of Virginia Woolf but Jo's vicious put-downs of her friends drains us of almost all sympathy for her plight. Maggie Smith's arrival, seconds before the interval, changes things completely and Act 2 is a harrowing study of how the victim and her loved ones deal with impending death. The critics seem to differ, but to me it is clear that Jo has invited Elizabeth's personification of death to ease her passing and to create some form of comfort, particularly for her devoted husband who remains in denial of the inevitability of her death. Certainly not a comfortable evening, particularly for anyone who has lost a loved one in similar circumstances, but I chose to take comfort from Edward Albee's message of embracing a dignified death as a form of welcome release. - David Baxter
28 May 07
I attended the performance on 24th April (Tuesday) and, as most of the audience, had the experience of a very moving evening. This is an ensemble acting as a whole - not as so called "star vehicle". Even if you may exactly suppose this, as this unknown play sells only with an outstanding name as Dame Maggie's is. From the intervall till after the performance (you can't call this a "show") discussions about the play took place and some people even went to the stage door and discussed with the actors.
This production is worth visiting! Quite rare an experience! - Peter, Germany
01 May 07
I've never seen an Albee I didn't like (we were very nervous about The Goat, I admit, but loved it), and the draw of Maggie Smith ensured that we booked early. But even though Maggie didn't appear until the very end of the first act, I was immediately drawn in by the play, which as many have remarked was very reminiscent of the boozy acidity of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (and Delicate Balance, in which Maggie herself played the role of Claire with undisguised relish). The whole cast was excellent, Catherine McCormack totally convinced as the dying Jo, raging against the dying of the light. I also greatly enjoyed Jennifer Regan's richly comic Carol. And of course Maggie Smith gave her usual superb performance, making the very most of some very funny lines but still able to break your heart on the flip of a coin. Her double act with Oscar (a wonderfully imperious Peter Francis James) is a sight to behold. I’m going to have to go again, and I recommend that you do too. - LDE
27 Apr 07
Seen in Anthony Page's beautiful, hugely enjoyable production, it is very hard to see why this piece was such a notorious flop when it debuted on B'way. Alot of it is familiar Albee territory (alcohol fuelled waspish dialogue, the rapier wit suddenly shot through with shocking violence and unexpected depth of feeling, an air of absurdist menace) and the themes are consistently fascinating. Although Maggie Smith's name is above the title (and she is as compelling as ever, moving from laugh-out-loud funny to deeply touching in a heartbeat), this is really an ensemble piece, and every single cast member is spot on. Catherine McCormack in particular is stunning as the stricken Jo. Hildegard Bechtler's gorgeous design is the icing on a rich and satisying cake. - ajh
05 Apr 07
I was just knocked out by it and am eager to see it again. A packed audience were very enthusiastic despite some scenes being desperately painful to watch. But it's humorous too in A Delicate Virginia Woolf way, the end was most satisfying and Maggie Smith will have pleased all her fans and maybe even won some more. Totally fascinating and in very good shape despite being an early preview - my play of the year so far.
- Mike Richardson
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