CurtainUp
CurtainUp

The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings
www.curtainup.com


HOME PAGE

SITE GUIDE

SEARCH

REVIEWS

REVIEW ARCHIVES

ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP

FEATURES

NEWS
Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


LISTINGS
Broadway
Off-Broadway

NYC Restaurants

BOOKS and CDs

OTHER PLACES
Berkshires
London
California
New Jersey
DC
Philadelphia
Elsewhere

QUOTES

TKTS

PLAYWRIGHTS' ALBUMS

LETTERS TO EDITOR

FILM

LINKS

MISCELLANEOUS
Free Updates
Masthead
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp London London Review
Speed the Plow



It's not quite art. It's not quite entertainment. It's here on my desk—Gould
Speed the Plow
Kevin Spacey as Charlie Fox and Jeff Goldblum as Bobby Gould
(Photo: Manuel Harlan)
With two Hollywood actors in a satire of their own world, Mamet's sharp, witty play is performed with manic energy and a sense of fun camaraderie. This production starring Jeff Goldblum and Kevin Spacey has received much hype, so it comes as little surprise that onstage they exude an aura of anticipation and power. This lends exactly the right dynamic to the play which portrays two moguls of the movie world in all their high-flying ambition and cut-throat drive.

When delivering Mamet's characteristically quick-paced dialogue, Goldblum and Spacey mirror each other with seemingly intuitive repartee. With impressive onstage chemistry, their swift, exciting banter is a verbal tour de force, although the British audience may lose some of the lines in the sheer speed of the delivery. The bond and electricity between the men is especially breathtaking in the first act, when the two characters perform a mutual schmooze, both intoxicated by the expectation of a financial coup, in the form of a high grossing, box office hit.

In addition to the breathtaking dialogue, Goldblum and Spacey execute very physical performances with comic force. Goldblum's lithe movement and the ease with which he possesses the stage is appropriate as he plays Bobby Gould, the influential producer with the ear of the head of the studio and the power to green-light projects. Spacey, on the other hand, as Charlie Fox, a man struggling to reach the same levels of success as his friend, moves more frenetically and reflects his character's desperation in clinging to this unique chance.

In the role of Ruth, the na´ve "office temporary", is Laura Michelle Kelly who has recently impressed London audiences as Mary Poppins and Queen Galadriel in Lord of the Rings. A problematic part, Ruth symbolises the even more problematic crux of the play: altruistic endeavour versus sheer greed, or in other words, art versus commerce. As the proponent of making a film of a dystopian novel by an "Eastern cissy writer" which simply "won't get asses in the seats", the role of Ruth is undermined by the ridiculous gibberish of the novel, let alone its deeply uncinematic quality. Nevertheless, Kelly plays the part with sincerity, as if convincingly enthralled by the novel.

The first criticism levelled against this play is always the imbalance of the dilemma. This production tackles this by emphasising the vulnerability of Gould, who is seduced not just by the girl's attractiveness but also by his own loneliness. Although quite patently not understanding the book itself, the fear, decay and solitude but ultimate redemption appeal to Gould who is ribbed by Fox for how "lonely it is at the top". This production contains the dilemma, so that the novel represents the dialectic selfless art versus money-making for Gould only.

With excellent performances from two of Hollywood's finest actors, this production is sure to be as big a box office success as any producer could wish for. In fact, with an almost self-referential gesture, this production suits Charlie Fox's model of easy success and money making for the Old Vic theatre — a sure bet of a play, a well-known playwright and a starry cast. This is one production which will not fail "to get asses in seats".

SPEED THE PLOW
Written by David Mamet
Directed by Matthew Warchus

With: Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Spacey, Laura Michelle Kelly
Design: Rob Howell
Lighting: Paul Pyant
Casting: John Carnahan
Running time: 90 minutes with no interval
Box Office: 0870 060 6628
Booking to 26th April 2008
Reviewed by Charlotte Loveridge based on 13th February 2008 performance at the Old Vic Theatre, The Cut, London SE1 8NB (Rail/Tube: Waterloo)

London Theatre Tickets
Lion King Tickets
Billy Elliot Tickets
Mighty Boosh Tickets
Mamma Mia Tickets
We Will Rock You Tickets
Theatre Tickets
Google
 
Web    
www.curtainup.com
London Theatre Walks


Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography



London Sketchbook



tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Our Review


©Copyright 2008, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from esommer@curtainup.com