What's On

Your guide to everything in North East

Bracing fodder for the brain

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? People's Theatre, Newcastle, until Saturday

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? People's Theatre, Newcastle, until Saturday

The amateur-run People's Theatre is a very comfortable venue, if a little quaint, in the nicest possible way. The same can't always be said about the plays it puts on.

Edward Albee's celebrated three act drama of 1962 is classic People's fare, an intense work by a great playwright and the kind of thing that comes along too rarely in the professional theatre, where the commercial leans towards punter-pulling musicals and the subsidised goes for the cutting edge contemporary.

To further your theatrical education, you head for places like the People's and hope for brilliantly bracing productions like this one.

The action unfolds over a drunken late night.

A history professor and his wife invite a younger academic couple - college newcomers - round for drinks and a spot of torture.

There's really no other way to describe what Martha and George (played by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the film) subject Honey and Nick to over brandy and bourbon, although what they really want is an audience for their own brand of domestic warfare.

In real life, and in the present day, the closing scene might come quickly with George getting a thump on the nose.

But this is drama and you watch it with mounting fascination and revulsion, and maybe a recognition of things which are for real.

The performances from Moira Valentine (Martha), Tony Dowling (George), Ellie Pullen (Honey) and Robert Gilmour (Nick) are equal to anything you will see from the professionals, and much credit must also go to director Clive Hilton.

With tickets at £8.50 and £6.50, this penultimate offering in the People's spring/summer season is value for money as well as fodder for the brain.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer