David Mamet's caustic look at the cut n' thrust world of Hollywood and its "Make the thing everyone made last year" ethic is particularly timely when you notice the number of sequels in your cinema. The writer dissects this big dumb world and the motivation to find the next smash hit. Charlie Fox thinks he has the perfect movie idea. But his life is shattered when secretary Karen arrives and his boss, Bob Gould becomes interested in her plans.
For anyone interested in looking behind the silver screen this play provides you with a humorous and interesting insight. You find out what lies beneath the shades, suits, and the capitalist views. The dialogue, as you would expect from Mamet, is razor sharp. Gould sums up the writer's views on Tinsletown when he says: "I'm a whore and proud of it."
As insightful as this play is though, it is not without its faults. Chris Honer's direction is fairly solid and the pace that the writer is famed for is evident. But ultimately the piece itself lacks the pent-up emotion of the writer’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Beneath the macho exteriors were men desperate to succeed and be accepted as the best. That depth is lacking here.
Martin Ledwith struggles as the changed man, Gould. You do not understand why this go-getter rolls over so quickly, clutching a new film idea. Rachael Hayden has more success. Her Karen is annoying and the actress spouts the ludicrous self help lines with real conviction. Jamie Lee's Fox is imbued with an inner rage. This gifted actor breathes life into the production whenever the action starts to wane.
Unfortunately wane it does and by the end of the play each character ends up being a whining stereotype rather than a strong voice for the audience to sit up and listen to.
Dawn Allsopp's revolving set beautifully highlights the greed on display, complete with expensive minimalist furniture and a sparsely decorated office where the phone is god.
Ultimately Mamet's play ends up being a pretentious ode to a 1980's style of film making. Some of the ideology remains relevant but this production is too slight to leave a lasting impression. If you want to see this writer’s better attempt at satirising the film world, his movie State and Main is a much safer bet.
- Glenn Meads