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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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Given the suburban surroundings, The Theatre Factory, in Trafford, takes a surprising and brave step by presenting a production of Virginia Woolf that, while maybe not the greatest version I'll ever see, certainly validates my opinion that this is one of the greatest plays ever written. I'm not even going to get into the plot; if you don't know Woolf by now, then, really, why are you reading this when you should be catching up on your suduko?

Tom McCarthy directs with a great deal of intelligence and insight. The depth of some of the play's bigger themes may be unexamined, but I'd much rather have someone not go as far as they could, than go somewhere they shouldn't. The cast, as well, might not explode all of Albee's dramatic depth charges, but they do locate and play an enormous number of powerful moments. Beverly J. Price and Jerry Wienand play George and Martha as the loving and hateful couple we know them to be; Price handles the comedy with skill, and Wienand plays George's detachment with chilly aplomb. As Nick, Andy Davis is every inch the self-sure schemer, and Janel Somers navigates the near-impossible role of Honey with comic flair and sadness.

And while I'm not happy about it, I understand why McCarthy's cut down this famously long show to under three hours. Still, I do take issue with the removal of the religious curse words -- I mean, it's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ... for Christ's sake.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? continues through Sun., Nov. 12. Theatre Factory, Cavitt Avenue and Third Street, Trafford. 412-374-9200

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