Skip to main content

Review of Speed The Plow at The Playhouse Theatre, London

Ever since the announcement of Speed The Plow and its stage débutante star and wild child Lindsay Lohan, the internet and press were as wild as her with comments about the likely disaster than the production was to become. I saw comments ranging from her not knowing lines, to her walking away from the show and the comment that her understudy was likely to perform more than her. I have no interest in naysayers generally and would rather form an opinion myself really and have not kept tabs on her commenter's much since the début.

However a whole paragraph on Miss Lohan from me is ironic really as I didn't attend Speed The Plow to see her as I was here for the opportunity to see Richard Schiff on stage. The West Wing is probably my favourite TV series and I was never going to miss a chance to see Toby Ziegler in action live. He is not a disappointment for me and issues forth David Mamet's wordy script in all the fast paced manner I am familiar with from the aforementioned television series.

The play itself at the start for me was really too fast paced. The curtain was up, the lights snapped on revealing Robert Innes Hopkins' crisp and clear office room set and Schiff (as newly promoted head of production Bobby Gould) and Nigel Lindsay (Gould's associate, Charlie Fox) were wording each other nineteen to the dozen. For a few minutes, coupled with the American accents, it was too much. Then thankfully for whatever reason, the mists cleared and I started to know what the hell was happening.

Schiff and Lindsay are good in their quick repartee and perform Mamet's grim portrayal of the film industry well together and their conversations quickly become even more seedy after the arrival of Lohan's "temporary secretary" Karen. Its hard to tell where Lohan's character lies in the play at first. Bringing in the drinks and standing between the two old gents just looking pretty, and on departure from the stage, its clear where the two gents see her in their crude bet. Any more story would be a spoiler, but  it clearly becomes evident that all characters are relevant here, and maybe have hidden agendas?

All performances are fine and everyone now has all their lines in order, although we are well down the run now, so this would be expected. Lohan is no car crash like many predicted and for a first stage performance, personally I think it is rather good. Both the elder statesmen are as you would expect very good and more than satisfy. My own personal gripe really is with the play itself, while it is undoubtedly witty and very clever (perhaps even knowing itself to be so), it is not entirely endearing. Having said all that though, I enjoyed it, albeit far from my favourite of the year.

«««

Performance viewed: Wednesday 19th November, 2014 at the Playhouse Theatre, London.

Speed The Plow continues at the Playhouse Theatre, London until 29th November, 2014. Details can be found at http://www.playhousetheatrelondon.com/speed-the-plow/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Hansel & Gretel by Warts & All at Delapré Abbey, Northampton

For those unfamiliar with Kneehigh Theatre (from where this show originally comes), the best way of explaining them is that they do traditional things, differently. This performance by Warts and All Theatre of their adaptation of the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel tells you much of what you need to know early on as a (human) rabbit is pinned down upon a table and skinned (half their costume removed). It is just one of an evening of wacky and quite brilliant moments as this production sours mostly for the sky of brilliance.

Handed to a cast of young performers, the result is often disturbingly professional. Sure it is still rough around the edges at times, but perhaps this helps the material. It doesn't actually matter if there is sparring from the cast with the audience, knowing looks and playfulness. It doesn't matter if one of the cast nearly knocks the cymbal of the musicians flying, perhaps it would have been even better if they had, this is anachic fun at its very b…

Review of Great Expectations by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Market Boy from The Actors Company last year was a remarkable show and is likely to stay with me for a long time, so following it with this year's production was always going to be a tough call and with their production of the epic Dickens classic Great Expectations, they at least didn't lack ambition.

I have to be honest, things for me didn't start well. The first few minutes of this adaptation by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod is a busy and convoluted sequence moving the opening part of the story in an unclear and often irritating way. For those present not aware of the original story, I wouldn't envy them trying to keep up with what is going on. However much of the trouble of this opening sequence is quickly corrected as scenes become more defined and controlled and the story is allowed to develop at a slower pace.

Perhaps also in the early part, it doesn't help either that the gender-swapped Magwitch played by Salli Bersham is a little too full on with the o…

Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.


Our hero of thi…