Reviewed on Monday 6th October 2014
Speed-The-Plow by David Mamet, which is described as a "satirical dissection of the American movie business", has been been staged many times on Broadway and in the West End. Madonna famously played Karen (the part played by Lindsay Lohan in this revival) in the US whilst in London Speed-The-Plow has previously been seen at both the National and Old Vic.
I took my seat at the Playhouse Theatre (which is looking fantastic inside following some refurbishment work) knowing very little about Mamet's piece. The cast of the three-hander is completed by Richard Schiff and Nigel Lindsay as arguing Hollywood co-producers whilst Lohan plays a temporary secretary who throws a spanner into the works.
It's been impossible to hide from the extraordinary press Lohan has received since her casting was announced. Article after article sets the level of expectation low, which has probably done Lohan a huge favour.
She is well cast as a worker unsure of her surroundings. My main criticism is that Lohan's performance is very small; at times I felt as if I was watching someone give a strong screen performance on stage.
Schiff's performance makes little impact, but it is (Nigel) Lindsay who steps up to the plate in the third act and reminds us what it is like to watch high quality stage acting.
Personally I don't think the issue with this production is its stunt casting, I simply did not like the play at all. The pace is good, but I failed to be captivated by the text heavy scenes. In fact, if it wasn't for Lohan's performance creating a buzz in the air (the girl sat behind me gasped each time the Mean Girls actress stepped foot on stage and during the bows people screamed "We love you Lindsay!") the show would have very little going for it.
Speed-The-Plow runs at the Playhouse Theatre until Saturday 29th November 2014.
Photo Credit: Simon Annand