Entertainment & Arts

Imelda Staunton to star in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Imelda Staunton in Gypsy Image copyright Johan Persson/PA
Image caption Imelda Staunton earned rave reviews - and awards - for her performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy

Imelda Staunton is to appear in Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in London's West End.

Albee, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, died aged 88 last week at his home on Long Island, near New York.

Staunton will star alongside Game of Thrones actor Conleth Hill at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

The play, directed by James Macdonald, will run from 22 February to 27 May 2017.

Staunton won awards for best musical performance for Gypsy last year at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and UK Theatre Awards.

'Not uplifting'

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Albee's best-known work, was denied the 1963 Pulitzer Prize following its debut the previous year, with the advisory board for the award ruling it was not "uplifting" - noting its profanity and sexual themes.

It went on to win a Tony Award for best play however and was made into a 1966 film, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Edward Albee died earlier this month

The play, set on the campus of an American college, tells the story of a decaying marriage and takes place over the space of one evening.

Staunton's West End return, following her Gypsy performance as Mama Rose, sees her take on the role of Martha, who has invited a new professor and his wife to the home she shares with husband George for after-party drinks.

Staunton has won four Olivier Awards, including one for her role as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd, as well as a Bafta film award for best actress in a leading role for Vera Drake.

Hill plays Lord Varys in Game of Thrones and is also an award-winning theatre actor, while Macdonald's recent work includes The Father and Roots.


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