Marriage On the Rocks at The Rep: A Review of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’

By Patsy Isenberg

Two couples engage in a late night drinking fest — all the while dangerously dissecting their marriages — in Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” now playing at the Flint Repertory Theatre.

The play opens on the hosts of the evening’s festivities, George and Martha, who have just returned home from a faculty party given by the president of the university where George teaches history. Already pretty boozed up, the doorbell rings and a younger couple that Martha invited over for (even more!) drinks saunters in. It’s 2 a.m.

What ensues may be expected if the viewer is aware Albee is considered one of the best-known Theatre of the Absurd playwrights. But, for those unfamiliar with absurdist plays, Roy Berko explained “Woolf” for Broadway World in 2015 as: “a classic example of absurdist writing which probes the modern condition. It contains biting dialogue by highlighting the dysfunctional relationship between two people who seemingly have only one purpose…the psychological destruction of each other.”

The three-act play has only the four characters, all of which are played extremely well in the Rep’s production. 

George and Martha are portrayed by Rico Bruce Wade and Emily Townley. The visiting couple, Nick and Honey, are played by Kevin O’Callaghan and Amanda Kuo. All but one of these actors are familiar from prior Flint Repertory productions and others around Michigan. Townley is new to the Flint Rep. 

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was first staged on Broadway in 1962 with Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill in the starring roles. There have been many other productions and adaptations of the play, including a 1966 film starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

The Rep production is directed by New York City-based Joshua Morgan, who chose to set the play in 2024 rather than the original 1960s world. While Morgan achieved modernity with diverse casting, current costuming, and a set featuring neon art and clean lines, he also noted that the play’s “action, dialogue and story” also had to be reframed for considerations of “sexuality, race, gender roles, politics and even pacing.”

As a brief note to parents of younger theater enthusiasts: given the subject matter and certain scenes, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is a decidedly adult production that very much merited the inclusion of its Fight & Intimacy Director, Alexis Black.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” opened at Flint Repertory Theatre’s Elgood Theatre on March 28, 2024 and runs through April 7. For tickets or more information, visit

Author: East Village Magazine

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