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British actor David Suchet

critique

Stephen J. Bottoms // “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Plays in Production)”. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2000

... when the Almeida, another small, London-based art theatre, requested permission to mount a new production in 1996, he stipulated that he would only agree if a West End transfer was guaranteed. With Albee back in fashion following the international success of his 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winner Three Tall Women, he was in a strong position to make such demands, and a four-month run at the Aldwych Theatre was scheduled to follow the month at the Almeida. The resulting production added further momentum to the Albee renaissance, attracting rave reviews by striking that elusive balance between star-studded cast and genuinely cooperative, ensemble-oriented playing.

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Stephen J. Bottoms // “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Plays in Production)”. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2000

[...] David Suchet’s performance as George matches Diana Riggs Martha as effectively as McAnally does Stritch’s, and shows a similarly disturbing range of emotional registers. Suchet’s George is, however, considerably “bigger” than McAnally’s — just as the Almeida performance generally is “bigger” than the BBC Radio version (no doubt partly as a result of the differing levels of intimacy of the two media). There is a vicious force about Suchet which occasionally echoes the nastiness brought to the role by Hill (just as Rigg echoes Hagen). His first act speech to Martha, for example, building up to his refusal to light her cigarette, unmistakably underlines his absolute refusal to obey her instructions, and places her in a distinctly uncomfortable position in front of her guests: man can put up with only so much without he descends a rung or two on the old evolutionary ladder. This is in notable contrast to the playfulness with which, say, Eddington and McAnally toy with these lines. A similar difference in force is even more apparent when Honey brings up the subject of George and Marthas son later in the act: “When’s the little bugger going to appear, hunh?” is delivered with an almost palpably threatening snarl, the “hunh?” punched in like a fist.

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Charles Spencer // Daily Telelegraph

I was an innocent teenager when I first came across Edward Albee’sWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and it knocked me for six. Did adults really behave like that? Shout like that? Swear like that? Above all drink like that? Not in our house they didn’t.

But works first encountered in adolescence tend to lose their shine in later years. A couple of duff productions persuaded me that the play wasn’t actually that good. What had once seemed wild and daring now looked melodramatic. And weren’t George and Martha, the warring couple at the centre of this booze-fuelled battle, more like a pair of screaming queens than a real-life husband and wife? This outstanding new production, starring Diana Rigg and David Suchet at the very top of their form, still doesn’t quite convince me that this 1962 play, later filmed with Burton and Taylor, is a modern masterpiece.

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Paul Taylor // The Independent

One would rather be, ooh, back in the middle of Finals than be a guest at Beverley’s gruesome little “do” in Abigail’s Party. But one would rather be in intensive care than go anywhere near George and Martha’s after-hours drinking session in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. At this sozzled, Strindbergian bitch-fest, it’s venom on the rocks and guts out on the table. The obligatory games include Get the Guest, Hump the Hostess and playing puzzled pawn in a marital war conducted as vindictive vaudeville. Emigration would be preferable to participation, but, as Howard Davies’s wonderful Almeida revival confirms, to be a fly on the wall at this event is one of the most exhilarating and cathartic experiences the post-war theatre has to offer.

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Darren Dalglish // londontheatrearchive.co.uk

This play by Edward Albee has transferred to the Aldwych after a sell out run at the Almeida and you can see why. This is a great production with a superb cast.

The play is about a frustrated, explosive woman called Martha, who taunts her quiet, stewing husband, George, about his failures in life. However, when Nick & Honey, a young married couple, come to visit for a drink late in the evening, they get entwined in Martha and George’s hurtful games that they play.

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Ian Shuttleworth // Financial Times

The first shock in Howard Davies’s fine production is the entrance of Diana Rigg on to John Napier’s scholastically opulent set. The epitome of theatrical elegance looks as close to frumpy as she can reasonably manage, eating ice cream from the tub in an undistinguished suit and semi-unruly carrot-coloured wig. Although she later emerges in a more eyecatching ensemble including tight zebra-striped pants, the point is well made that Rigg’s Martha is a siren not through any inherent allure but because she is determined, even desperate, to be so.

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// The Listener, 1980  || Note for david-suchet.ru by Daria Pichugina (proofreading by Yaroslava Vereshchagina)

The Kreutzer Sonata was the husband’s account, told in the first person, of the circumstances in which he murdered his wife, and in its original production on the World Service David Suchet’s performance as the narrator earned him the 1979 award of the best audio actor of the year. If anyone equals it in 1980 we shall be singularly fortunate for it stood head to ankles above anything I have heard in the past 12 months.

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Michael Billington // One Night Stands

A surly yobbo starts a row with an usherette in the front stalls. «I’m not having any bloody woman telling me what to do,» he cries. He then scrambles drunkenly on to the Stratford stage, pulling down bannisters and toppling pillars like some berserk Samson. Lights explode; the stage fills with harassed backstage staff; and gullible patrons start making for the exit to call the police.

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Hersh Zeifman // York University, Toronto, 12 October 1993

In a recent talk with members of the Dramatists Guild in New York, David Mamet confessed that he had had serious misgivings about directing his play Oleanna , misgivings which turned out to be prophetic: his 1992 off-Broadway production was deeply flawed, skewing a text that Mamet had conceived of as a classically structured tragedy into melodrama. Despite the visual clue of two separate covers for the Playbill program;one featuring the seated figure of a man, the other the seated figure of a woman, each with a target inscribed on its chest; New York audiences repeatedly hissed a single ’"villain": Mamet’s production so insidiously manipulated audience sympathy that only the female character became the object of attack. As Carol, Rebecca Pidgeon was encouraged (or, at the very least, permitted) by Mamet to play the role as a frump and neurotic, with a peculiar singsong voice that rendered her an automaton. Who could possibly care anything for a robot especially when her antagonist possessed the boyish good looks and cornfed charm of the terminally affable William H. Macy?

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David Lister // The Independent, 1993

Man teaches girl. Man touches girl. Girl takes revenge. Men and women in the audience nearly come to blows.

David Mamet’s attack on political correctness, which opened at the Royal Court theatre last night, split the chattering classes by gender during its run in New York. Couples emerged screaming at each other and cancelled post-theatre dinners. One group of women reportedly tried to ’get’ the men who applauded when the exasperated lecturer does strike and kick the girl in the climax of this gripping play. Some men did indeed spontaneously applaud last night.

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