A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre

Shaken and stirred. The mid-century denizens in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance must have seemed immortal at the time, 1966, when the play was premiered. They are Dorothy Parker’s gin-soaked contemporaries, morphing into Stephen Sondheim’s ladies who lunch. Along with their Wall Street-country club husbands, they prowled the veldt from Westchester to the Upper East Side, confident that they were at the top of the food chain, putting down stakes at a private table at “21” and needing only a five-to-one martini in their canteens, seven-to-one if the terrain got rocky. Brought back as the cast of the hit retro TV series, Mad Men, this New York City type arouses nostalgia, but Albee experienced the real thing—and his reaction was pitiless.

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