BWW Reviews: The Edge Theatre's SPEED THE PLOW
Many say that David Mamet's Tony nominated (1988) Speed the Plow is a play about greed, power and sex in Hollywood, but I think it is more a study of seduction, desperation and morality.
The story revolves around hot-shot Hollywood producer Bobby Gould, who, through the seduction of his temporary secretary Karen, tries to rise above the sleaze-and-greed mentality of the Hollywood industry ("I only wanted to do good"). Sadly, through the coercion of his sadistic and egocentric "friend" Charlie Fox ("You think about a concept all of your life...wealth"), Bobby ends up right where he started. Ultimately, Speed the Plow is a cat-and-mouse story of seduction (Just who is seducing whom here?!)! The street-smart dialogue is indicative of Mamet's precise style; I would hear a line, smile and think, "That's so Mamet!"
The two male leads, Rick Yaconis and Scott Bellot, offer solid performances. The actors' rapport is apparent and helps drive the overlapping dialogue along effortlessly. As Karen, Rachel Bouchard does a marvelous job. The subtlety of her disdain of the Hollywood system (and Charlie Fox), and her naiveté of the ins-and-outs of "the business," make for a witty mockery of the entire dysfunctional system.
As wonderful as the play is - and it truly is - there are two things that bothered me. First, I felt that once Karen's intentions were made clear, the seduction scene could have been even more overt on her part. A more obvious seductive ploy would have made the scene much funnier and helped build the relationship and sexual tension between Bobby and Karen. Second, one of the most important lines in the show was thrown away by having Karen sit in a chair as she spoke. She should have stood, commanding the audience's attention and emphasizing the line with her use of stage space (if you wanna know what all the fuss is about and what the line is - go see the show!). In true Mamet style, this single sentence brings the play to a complete 360. The reactions from the other characters were appropriate, but the line felt sorely understated.
I am always amazed at the depth of atmosphere a small theater can offer. Kudos to director Bill Smith and scenic and lighting designer Lowell Spies for making the most from such limited space at The Edge Theatre.
David Mamet's Speed the Plow is playing now until April 10th. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 6pm. The Edge Theatre is located at 9797 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood, CO. For tickets and information, call the box office at 303-232-0363 or visit The Edge Theatre Company online at www.theeproject.org.
Rachel Bouchard & Scott Bellot
Rachel Bouchard & Rick Yaconis
Rachel Bouchard, Rick Yaconis, and Scott Bellot