“There is a balance to be maintained”
One of the main reasons for finally booking a trip to Broadway was the chance to see Glenn Close make a rare foray back onto the stage in a revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. I saw the play at the Almeida back in 2011 with an exceptional cast and didn’t imagine it could be bettered but something about it clearly attracts the crème de la crème as the ensemble around her in Pam McKinnon’s production is just as thrill-makingly irresistible.
Brits Clare Higgins and Lindsay Duncan join John Lithgow, Bob Balaban, and the delectable Martha Plimpton to form the kind of company to dream of, and deliver this modern classic exquisitely if agonisingly as its WASP certainties are thoroughly dismantled. Albee’s prose has an unwieldy verbosity on the page but in the hands of such consummate professionals, it flows beautifully off the tongue as even the most convoluted of clauses gain conversational clarity.
Much is left unsaid in the play but in the best possible way, the questions it provokes are engaging and involving and this production never loses sight of maintaining that air of compelling mystery. So for me, a rather magnificent piece of theatre all told, and a great example of luxury casting from top to bottom thoroughly paying off. Santo Loquasto’s rich set design is matched by luscious costumery from Ann Roth, Brian Macdevitt lighting and Scott Lehrer’s sound also match up to the high standards all around, and the whole exercise makes a great case for what can be a challenging play.