Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Speed-The-Plough"

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note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Beverly Creasey

Swords into Hysterical Ploughshares

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

New Rep has done the impossible. Iíve been converted. Theyíre currently giving David Mamet the production of his dreams so Iím putting you on notice. You only have until November 7th to see New Repís pause-perfect SPEED-THE-PLOW. I reaped nothing from my three previous encounters with the PLOW. I didnít like the play. I didnít get the play. Now I get it, thanks to director Robert Walsh, three crackerjack performers and the perfect storm of set, sound, light and costume.

Mametís comedy of Hollywood bad manners, it turns out, is the funniest play Iíve seen all year. Robert Pemberton plays the quintessential, foul mouthed movie mogul more concerned with the bottom line than artistic merit ---until circumstances give him the chance to make a meaningful contribution. Mametís nifty little moral dilemma is happily beset by bad behavior on all fronts, in the person of a co-conspirator and the temptation of a beautiful woman. Watching Pemberton as Bobby Gould drool over his prospects is simply delightful. (You may remember a previous incarnation when Mamet dispatched Gould to Hell but thatís another play for another day.)

Gabriel Kuttner is hilarious as Gouldís resentful subordinate and Aimee Doherty is just sweet enough to keep us guessing about her stake in the game. (I think she has the pivotal role. In all the previous PLOWS Iíve seen, not one of those actresses had that innocence.) And costume designer Charles Schoonmaker puts Doherty into the loveliest, proper little dress to sell that naÔvetť. Jeff Adelberg lights up Eric Levensonís steel and glass high-rise so smartly, it has to be L.A. and J. Hagenbuckleís cheeky original music says Hollywood from the get-go. Itís brash. Itís loud and itís a hoot.

So pick up the phone and speed-the-dial to New Repertory Theatreís box office. You donít want to miss this one.

"Speed-The-Plough" (18 October - 7 November)
Arsenal Center for The Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, WATERTOWN MA
1 (617)923-8487

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide