Reviewed by David Smith
Once again the Theatre Guild has tackled a serious and demanding play. Albee's intense examination of aging, its stages and effects provided a challenge to experienced Director Geoff Brittain and his small cast. It's a challenge they faced and met.
While Act 1 spends much time in establishing the final stages of the long life of the central character, A, wonderfully played by Jean Walker, Act 2 has more interest and complexity. That Act brings the other two performers more to the fore as they portray two earlier stages of A's life. The interplay between the three stages of her life is captivating.
Walker gave a splendid, sustained performance , capturing both the pleasures and torment of the character. Her empathy and focus were critical, holding the audience's rapt attention. She was the focus at all times but was especially effective when showing the decline of her character's mind. Rachel Burfield in both acts played B as somewhat hard-edged and life-experienced. She was a suitable foil to the other two, and often formed the emotional halfway point between them, especially later in the play.
As C, Jessica Carroll showed an admirable dramatic range, contrasting the somewhat clipped and querulous legal functionary of Act 1 with the naivety of the youngest iteration of the central character in Act 2. At that point she was the necessary Innocence to the others' Experience.
This is a worthy piece of theatre, with demanding characterisation, provoking content and lengthy, searching monologues. Brittain and his cast have done well with it.
Rachel Burfield (B), Jessica Carroll (C) and Jean Walker in Three Tall Women