Glengarry Glen Ross
- Lorna Irvine
- 15 April 2019
An excellent cast close the deal
Hidden in the shadows of Chiara Stephenson's orange and cream Chinese restaurant, and cluttered office scenography, lie the aspirations of broken men. David Mamet's eighties play is still relevant, precisely because of its awful prescience about the rise of capitalism and machismo.
The Chicago real estate men (two of whom will be fired if they bodge their deals) engage in jazz rhythm monologues and dialogues with profanity flying like bullets, and some decidedly racist and sexist views, which, like the insidious Dave Moss (Denis Conway) seem like proto-Trump tirades. Mamet taps into a kind of verbal choreography, with words which wound as they land, all delivered with smiles, shrugs or bravado. But they become more apparent – and vicious – in the blatant savagery and threats of the second half.
Sam Yates directs a superb cast with great pacing. Nigel Harman as narcissistic young buck Ricky Romano is engaging, even if his accent slips on occasion, and Mark Benton makes for a vulnerable Shelley Levene, the veteran flying by the seat of his pants. But it's Wil Johnson as nervy George Aaronon and Scott Sparrow as weasel bastard manager John Williamson who most impress: particularly the latter, who knows just when to stand well back, and when to pounce.
Even the loudest sneeze in Christendom from an audience member cannot upend the cast, who bring humour and pathos to salesmen whose swaggering pronouncements of entitlement fall second only to their pain.
Reviewed at Theatre Royal, Glasgow. Now touring.