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Theater Review: 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' -- 2.5 stars

From left, Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Madison Dirks

From left, Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Madison Dirks and Carrie Coon in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Credit: From left, Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Madison Dirks, Carrie Coon in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
2.5 stars

George and Martha, the resentful and destructive couple at the center of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," are hardly a well-matched pair by anyone's standards. But the actors playing the characters at least need to appear as if they are in the same production.

This new revival, which commemorates the play's 50th anniversary, originated at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

The production stars playwright-actor Tracy Letts, whose Pulitzer-winning drama "August: Osage County" played Broadway in 2007, and Amy Morton, who received a Tony nomination for her brave role in "August."

While its shock value has worn off, "Virginia Woolf" remains an exceptional drama exploring what happens when a married couple is tested by each other and the presence of a much younger couple during a house party from hell.

As directed by Pam MacKinnon, who earned high marks for her staging of "Clybourne Park," this three-hour-plus production displays a stop-and-start momentum that has much to do with a lack of chemistry between Letts and Morton.

Letts commands the stage with his enlivening and altogether brilliant turn as George. Despite a raw intensity that occasionally pops up, Morton gives an underplayed, rather flavorless performance as the volatile Martha.

If you go: "Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" plays an open run at the Booth Theatre. 222 W. 45th St., 212-239-6200.

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