Director Sam Yates gives a slick and faithful production that takes some time to adjust to the unique rhythm of Mamet’s writing, but settles in nicely for the second act. Part of the allure of this play is the snappy dialogue that spirals around its meaning, seemingly to-the-point but intentionally obscure. Slater and the rest masterfully mould their phrases to sell whatever version of the American dream they can.
At the bottom of the rat race is Shelly Levene (Stanley Townsend), whose golden days of bagging the best leads are long behind him. Townsend is frank and perfectly foolish, and wears a forced, optimistic smile throughout. Less successful are Townsend’s sorrowful moments: his pleas to his colleagues and references to his daughter’s welfare (one of the few clues that these men might have families) lack a desperation and gravity.
While Yates’s production concentrates on the mercenary world of Mamet, it plays mostly for laughter, and falters in exploring the tragic underbelly and the toxic effects of such masculinity. Daniel Ryan as James Lingk, a naive and impressionable man, gives a poignant performance of a man who has quite simply and tragically been conned, but it doesn’t resonate as much as it should.
Glengarry Glen Ross is nevertheless a convincing and by-the-book production of the Mamet classic, with some excellent performances. It may not fully illuminate the pressing relevance of real estate men selling dreams to the American public, nor fully scrutinize the effects of toxic masculinity, but it is a strong and sturdy example of one of Mamet’s best works.
|What||Glengarry Glen Ross, Playhouse Theatre review|
|Where||Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5DE | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Embankment (underground)|
26 Oct 17 – 03 Feb 18, Matinees on Thursdays and Saturdays start at 2.30pm
|Price||£15 - £65|
|Website||Click here to book now|