In David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, five cut-throat Chicago real estate men are pitched against each other in a cut-throat competition. Close the deal and you’ve won a Cadillac; blow the lead and you’re f...ed. In a world of high stakes and hard sell, these men will do anything, legal or otherwise, to sell the most.
Glengarry Glen Ross had its world premiere at the National Theatre in 1983 and was subsequently produced on Broadway and adapted, by Mamet, for a 1992 film starring Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris, Al Pacino and Alec Baldwin as well as Jonathan Pryce, who now takes on the part of luckless salesman Shelley Levene (played by Lemmon in the film). On stage, Aidan Gillen plays Richard Roma (Pacino on screen).
Also in the cast of James Macdonald’s new production, designed by Anthony Ward, are fellow salesmen Matthew Marsh (as Dave Moss) and Paul Freeman (George Aaronow), Tom Smith (prospective buyer James Lingk, Pryce’s screen role) and Shane Attwooll (the police officer, Baylen). McDonald plays the office manager John Williamson.
If McDonald was at all nervous about being such a late addition to the line-up, it didn’t show as far as the overnight critics were concerned, with one hailing him as “remarkable” for his “complete sangfroid”. There were raves too for both headliners, Jonathan Pryce (“excellent”) and Aidan Gillen (“riveting”), as well as for the “superb” ensemble playing of the entire company, performing at a “cracking pace” in Macdonald’s “nifty” production. But the real star of the evening was undeniably Mamet’s play itself, a “masterpiece” of American drama, which, if anything, is perhaps even more “timely” in today’s consumer-driven society.
- by Terri Paddock