Posted by Laurence Green

Laurence Green has an entertaining and thought provoking evening in the Playhouse Theatre with Lindsay Lohan’s West End stage debut - Speed-the-Plow.


It was feared that farmer ‘wild girl’ Lindsay Lohan’s somewhat colourful private life would result in a car crash in her West End stage debut but the Hollywood actress as now turned her back on her troubled past and manages to bring the necessary charisma and ambiguity to her role as Karen, a temporary secretary in Lindsay Posner’s revival of David Mamet’s seminal play Speed-the-Plow (Playhouse Theatre).

When a hugely bankable star agrees to appear in a sure-fire commercial hit, Bobby Gould, the new Head of Production at a major film studio, and his long-term associate Charlie Fox are convinced this is the break of a lifetime. That is until Karen, a temporary secretary, derails the dream. When she persuades Bobby to dump the blockbuster in favour of a prison-set story which can only be described as box office poison, Charlie is forced resort to desperate measures.

This is a predictable but spiky satire on the movie industry that takes a while to get in its stride but is distinguished by Mamet’s acerbic, witty dialogue and sharp insight into human fallibility. The playwright’s main aim is to expose the deep insecurity that lies behind the macho bluster of Hollywood bigwigs.

It is perhaps ironic that a play attacking Hollywood’s cautious cynicism itself should rely on a piece of well published celebrity casting. But it is actually Lindsay Lohan who comes off best and brings a freshness and breathless naivety to the role of the secretary who becomes a pawn in a contest between studio executive Booby and his less successful colleague Charlie. With her husky voice and rapt intensity, she convinces you of Karen’s sincerity when she gets her boss to talk about principles and emerges not so much a manipulative schemer as a person with a genuine missionary zeal. Richard Schiff, with his modest demeanour and quiet voice makes a rather dour and underpowered Bobby, but Nigel. Lindsay is a superbly sleazy producer-on-the-make as Charlie and brings the necessary fire and energy to the production.

This may not be among Mamet’s best works but it provides an entertaining and thought provoking evening in the theatre.

Booking to November 29                                                 

Box office: 0844 871 7631

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