Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Speed The Plow"

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note: entire contents copyright 2004 by Beverly Creasey

God "Speed"

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

Poor Bobby Gould. He claws his way to the top –make that the middle—of the movie biz and he’s headed straight for hell. He actually meets the devil in Mamet’s BOBBY GOULD IN HELL, but for now in SPEED THE PLOW, hell is a woman. She’s one cutie of a temp who pulls the wool {sweater} right over Gould’s eyes.

The Hovey’s crackerjack production speeds the play by eliminating some of those pesky Mamet pauses and by playing the action in a state of hyper-reality. Director Nancy Curran Willis nails the feel of those old two-reeler comedies of the thirties, even giving us Laurel & Hardy as the two n’er do well, wannabe producers.

Boy, does Mamet hate women but I won’t go there. And talk about “dropping a dime on Western civilization,” Mamet doesn’t regard the rest of the world too kindly, either. His plays are always about men getting screwed by women, or men getting screwed by the authorities, or in the case of a “Boston Marriage”, women acting like men. Oh-oh, I said I wouldn’t go there. I guess the “bitching lamp,” as he calls it, got turned on accidentally.

SPEED THE PLOW was never one of my faves but the Hovey production made me sit up and take notice. Here’s where a great production can make a difference. The Hovey’s is a hilarious romp and the cast tackles the play like gangbusters.

Richard Rininsland is so seedy and greedy (and as it turns out, needy) as Bobby Gould, he reminded me of Alec Baldwin in the film version of Glengarry Glen Ross. Bill Stambaugh bobs and weaves so deftly, like a prizefighter in need of valium, that you can just guess the kind of schlock movies they want to make.

Renee Tyzbir is all guile in the first act (Mamet loves to empower “the bitch” in a woman in the second half of his plays), and veteran operator in the second when she tries to muscle in on the boys’ game.

Here’s three words I never thought I’d say about SPEED THE PLOW: I had fun!

"Speed The Plow" (12 - 27 March)
Abbott Memorial Theatre, 9 Spring Street, WALTHAM MA

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