What’s it all about?
Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan alone if you believe all that was written before this show opened.
In fact, David Mamet’s drama, exposing the cynicism at the heart of the movie industry and the effects of power, is about a pair of Hollywood producers gifted a career-changing opportunity, whose judgement is clouded by the arrival of an attractive and passionate young secretary.
Who’s in it?
The former Hollywood wild child is reinventing herself on the West End stage. London theatre’s own Mean Girls have been sharpening their knives since her casting caught everyone by surprise, but they’ll have to sheath them with their shiny blades still blood-free.
The Freaky Friday star may be far from the finished stage article, and you could feel her understandable press night nerves in the auditorium, but this is far from the Herbie-style car crash many were predicting and even hoping for. Through the course of the short evening – the show is around 90 minutes plus an interval – you could see LiLo grow into the roll of the young secretary whose passion and ‘talents’ shake up a producing partnership.
Oh yes, there are two other actors, who actually have the play’s most substantial roles.
The West Wing’s Richard Schiff imbues newly promoted Bobby Gould with a surprising quiet calmness that comes with the security of power.
West End regular Nigel Lindsay, as dependable as ever, steals the show, giving a performance that bristles with excitable nervousness at the chance his character, Charlie Fox, has been offered.
What should I look out for?
Mamet’s blistering dialogue that, in the mouth of Lindsay (Nigel, not Lohan) in particular, is as sharp as those correspondents’ whetted knives and faster than a cynical hack sprinting from a first preview to file a scathing diatribe.
Who was in the press night crowd?
I enjoyed a delightful interval chat with Mathew Horne, discussing the negative intimations of the word ‘critic’. Henceforth I shall refer to myself as a ‘critiquer’.
In a nutshell?
Lindsay steals the show in Mamet’s blistering assault on Hollywood cynicism.
What’s being said on Twitter?
@eddiemarsan Go to see #speedtheplow at the playhouse & f**k the Hollywood hype, instead enjoy our own @NigelLindsay1. One of our greatest stage actors.
@JoannaSeaGraham Never seen @NigelLindsay1 be anything less than compellingly brilliant in many a top notch show & can say that #speedtheplow is no exception
Will I like it?
Not if you’re hoping for a train wreck.
If, like most normal theatregoers, you’re hoping for enjoyment, enlightenment and/or thought-provocation, then it’s absolutely worth a watch. Mamet’s cynicism-drenched dialogue is a treat, Nigel Lindsay owns the stage and as Lohan becomes more comfortable on stage she is sure to grow into the role even more.
Speed-The-Plow is running at the Playhouse Theatre until 29 November. You can book tickets through us here.