|Daniel David, Laila Robins|
Photo: Carol Rosegg
Albee's brilliance in Virginia Woolf is to force Nick and Honey, particularly Nick, to become part of George and Martha's game, requiring George and Martha to make some different moves and try some different strategies. Edgar and Alice, in contrast, are stuck on "repeat," and their ostensible rapprochement at the end is completely unconvincing, in contrast to George and Martha's heartbreaking detente.
The Red Bull Theater's current production of Dance at Death at the Lucille Lortel theater is anchored by a moving performance by Daniel Davis, who vividly depicts the headstrong life force of a dying man who will leave behind nothing he cherishes but nevertheless refuses to go. Laila Robins is not the equal sparring partner the play requires; her voice and presence are too small. (I kept wishing I was watching Colleen Dewhurst.) Derek Smith is unable to do anything interesting with the supporting role of Gustave, but that is probably the role's fault.
The adaptation, by Mike Poulton, shortens the play without successfully streamlining it but provides energetic and evocative language. The direction, by Joseph Hardy, moves the play along efficiently. The set (Beowulf Boritt), costumes (Alejo Vietti), and lighting (Clifton Taylor) are effective.
(third row on the aisle, press ticket)