Redoubtable performances by Robert Smyth and Deborah Gilmour Smyth, and the keen, inspired direction of Christy Yael-Cox make Intrepid Theatre Company’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the first truly must-see show of the year. More than half a century after it was written, Edward Albee’s piercing three-act drama about George, Martha, two unwary guests and a lot of booze remains an iconic work of the American theater. The searing tension, raw energy and horrifying emotive twists and turns nonetheless do not overwhelm Albee’s biting and eloquent language.
Intrepid is staging this production at the Horton Grand Theatre downtown as guest residents of Lamb’s Players Theatre. It’s Lamb’s’ producing artistic director, Smyth, and its associate artistic director, his wife Deborah Gilmour Smyth, who costar as George and Martha—bravely and inexhaustibly. Ross Hellwig and Erin Petersen portray the young couple quickly in the crossfire of Georgia and Martha’s war of insults, insinuations and threats. The exquisite Intrepid production boasts silences that are as potent as the destructive clamor.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Runs through March 26 at the Horton Grand Theatre, downtown. $43-$48. intrepidtheatre.org
What would seem impossible—making the Old Globe’s compact Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre feel like a stadium court at the U.S. Open tennis tournament—is impressively achieved in the world premiere production of Anna Ziegler’s The Last Match. A combination of the principal actors’ athleticism, a realistic set by Tim Mackabee and the ambient sounds of a roaring crowd and pummeled tennis balls heighten the believability of this showdown between veteran star Tim Porter (Patrick J. Adams) and fiery Russian foe Sergei Sergeyev (Alex Mickiewicz). But the side stories that involve Tim’s either tormented or perpetually unhappy wife, Mallory (Troian Bellisario) and Sergei’s equally fiery (and sexy) girlfriend, Galina (Natalia Payne) are rife with melodrama and tired socio-emotional profundities. This tennis match-as-metaphor would be better served if it better trusted its audience’s intuition.
The Last Match runs through March 13 at the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. $29 and up. oldglobe.org —David L. Coddon
Now You See It: Georges Feydeau’s comical farce includes a philandering husband, hypnotism and scandalous discoveries galore. Directed by Bruce Turk, it opens Feb. 24 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
WaistWatchers The Musical: A musical parody about four women obsessing over diet, work out regimens, plastic surgery and sex in their search for self-love. Presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre, it opens Feb. 24 at the Lyceum Space Theatre in the Gaslamp. sdrep.org
Annie Warbucks: Everyone’s favorite redheaded orphan returns in this sequel to the beloved musical. Presented by JHCompany Youth Theatre, it opens Feb. 26 at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre in La Jolla. jcompanysd.org
La Bête : Performed in rhymes couplets in iambic pentameter, this comedy centers on a 17th century French theater troupe that is forced to perform a play written by a foolish street performer. Written by David Hirson, it runs through Feb. 27 at the UCSD Shank Theatre in La Jolla. theatre.ucsd.edu
Guards at the Taj : A new black comedy about two Taj Mahal guards whose faith is tested after a ghoulish encounter. Written by Rajiv Joseph, it runs through Feb. 28 at the La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
San Diego, I Love You (I Love You Not) : Patrons will travel to multiple locations around Ocean Beach following a couple’s misadventures in this site-specific, choose-your-own-adventure-style romcom. Presented by Circle Circle dot dot, it runs through Feb. 28 starting at Electric Chair Salon in O.B. circle2dot2.com
Tell Me on a Sunday : Actress Bets Malone stars in the one-woman, Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about a young Brit looking for love in the U.S. Directed by James Vasquez, it runs through Feb. 28 at the Broadway Theatre in Vista. broadwayvista.biz
The Book of Mormon : In the acclaimed musical, two Mormon missionaries are sent to Uganda to convert the locals, who are not the slightest bit interested in being converted. Written by the creators of South Park , it runs through March 6 at the Civic Theatre in the Gaslamp. broadwaysd.com
Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight : The San Diego premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s fascinating play about the brilliant Enlightenment physicist and mathematician who never got her due because of her sex. It runs through March 6 at the New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org
The Metromaniacs : This new David Ives comedy centers on an 18th Century Parisian poet who falls in love with a famous poetess, not realizing that she is actually a he. Naturally, hilarity ensues. Presented in association with Shakespeare Theatre Company, it runs through March 6 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
Sugar : Based on the screenplay of Some Like it Hot , this musical is about two unemployed musicians who disguise themselves as women in order to hide from the Chicago mob. Adapted by Peter Stone, it runs through March 6 at the Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
The Last Match : As the drama of a tennis match between a Russian and an American plays out on the court, the behind-the-scenes drama is just as fast-paced. Written by Anna Zeigler, it runs through March 13 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
Now or Later : The west coast premiere of Christopher Shinn’s provocative play about a presidential election that turns all too personal when controversial photos surface of the Democratic candidate’s son. It runs through March 13 at the Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. diversionary.org
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? : Edward Albee’s classic drama about two married couples who meet for drinks and leave forever changed. Presented by the Intrepid Theatre Company, it runs through March 13 at the Horton Grand Theatre in the Gaslamp. intrepidtheatre.org