Reviewed on Monday 27th April 2015
Damian Lewis (Teach), John Goodman (Don) and Tom Sturridge (Bobby) star as three small-time crooks in Daniel Evans' West End revival of American Buffalo by David Mamet. Set in a Chicago junkshop, patience are tested as these three men each desire an undersold buffalo nickel. As the play unfolds we see where loyalties really lie.
It's fascinating to watch Lewis, Goodman and Sturridge approaching the piece differently. Each brings something unique to the table, whilst bouncing off each other spectacularly. The first half feels slow, but the intensity is stepped up a gear as the evening progresses into the second act.
A lot of people admire the way in which Mamet builds up tension; however, I find his writing to be sometimes tedious. I like that Mamet makes his audience work but, whilst there is plenty to sink your teeth into, I never became engrossed in the piece.
Paul Wills' junkshop design looks magnificent, impressing during the second act when Lewis performs Teach's almighty outburst. Evans' direction is focussed, providing plenty of grit and uncomfortably dark humour.
I hate to mention the overused "Marmite" phrase, but I think some will watch American Buffalo on the edge of their seats whilst others will find themselves feeling rather disconnected. Nevertheless, the performances are strong and there are moments that give you plenty to think about.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
American Buffalo runs at the Wyndham's Theatre until 27th June 2015.
Please visit www.americanbuffalotheplay.com for further information and tickets.
Photo Credit: Johan Persson