BWW Review: GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, Theatre Royal Brighton
The curtain rises at the Theatre Royal to reveal a heavily decked-out Chinese restaurant, with a sea of red lanterns hanging from polystyrene roof tiles.
This is the opening of David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross, which is making its Brighton stop on its current UK Tour following a sell-out run in the West End.
Directed by Sam Yates, the work takes you to Chicago and gives an insight into the workings of an American real estate firm and its employees desperate attempts to get ahead. Act One shows conversations between various agents and their plans to improve their commission, by whatever means possible. The work is based on Mamet's previous experience working for such a firm.
Mark Benton plays Shelley Levene, a larger-than-life character waxing lyrical - much of it hot air - as he pleads with his no-nonsense supervisor John Williamson (Scott Sparrow) for tips to help him close some larger sales than he's been dealt recently.
The audience enjoy rapid-fire exchanges between colleagues Denis Conway andGeorge Aaronow (Dave Moss and Wil Johnson respectively), as Conway talks Aaronow into some shady work to help them both in their jobs.
The detail of Chiara Stephenson's design pays off as it convincingly transports the audience to the restaurant and then to the firm's offices in the second half; there must have been many hands on deck during the interval to transform the stage.
Richard Howell's lighting design cleverly uses swift "light switch" cues to indicate the end of a scene.
There are some eyebrow-raising moments, particularly in some lines said by the agents about the calibre of clientele they prefer to sell to, but the audience respond warmly to the antics of the estate agents in this "sign of the times" work.
While a lot of buying and selling these days has moved online, Glengarry Glen Ross is a highly entertaining evening as audiences see what hoops these men will jump through to further progress their career in the extremely competitive area of real estate.
Glengarry Glen Ross at Theatre Royal Brighton until 27 April, then continues on tour
Photo credit: Marc Brenner