Speed-the-Plow: Theatre Review

Lindsay Lohan as Karen and Nigel Lindsay as Charlie Fox in Speed-the-Plow

I guess the majority of the audience were here to see Lindsay Lohan, but I was in the minority because I didn’t want to see a trainwreck – I wanted her to prove the critics wrong, to prove that she does still have acting talent and that she can commit to eight shows a week. I still love Lindsay and I was wishing throughout that she wouldn’t screw up. And she didn’t, so I’m happy.

I was a bit dubious about booking tickets a month into the run because I was scared she would bail – but it actually turned out to be a godsend because it meant that she had nailed the script by this point and had really got to grips with her character, which I don’t think she had fully achieved during press night at the end of September.

Sadly, the theatre was nowhere near full and I found that incredibly sad. I guess Lindsay is polarising in that regard – people want to see her but don’t want to shell out for tickets when she might not even show. I do feel sorry for the two real leads of the play – Richard Schiff and Nigel Lindsay. Both have bigger responsibilities in this three-hander but everybody is waiting for Lindsay and she shines.

plow2

The basic premise is two Hollywood producers place a bet that one of them can sleep with Karen (Lohan) and, in their pursuit of this, she changes the producer’s mind on what film he should green light next.

Her performance is perfunctory. It does the job. It didn’t show much range but then the character of Karen doesn’t have an awful lot of depth and is not well rounded at all. So you can hardly say that was her fault – if the script gives her nowhere to go, what does she expect? She only really holds her own during a lounge scene with Schiff. The rest of the time she just adds to the scene.

Schiff and Lindsay’s characters are incredibly annoying and very caricature Hollywood power-hungry media mogul types but I did find their exchanges interesting and pretty funny. I enjoyed listening to the politics of producing movies because that personally interests me. Their acting and the rapid-fire speed of their dialogue was impressive so in general, the cast do not let the play down, the play lets itself down.

plow3

I was not aware of this play but I know David Mamet is a big deal. However, this drama doesn’t really go anywhere. It is interesting but the plot is paper thin, which wouldn’t matter so much if you cared about the characters. They needed to have more to them to make you care. The tension is presumably supposed to ramp up in the third act, which is does a tad, but not in the gripping way you would hope. I also think a clunky set change ahead of this made the production lose its momentum – it took too long, the lights came up and people started using their phones. Not great.

In all, the play itself was not brilliant but I still enjoyed it. I found it interesting and humorous and I just loved seeing Lindsay onstage. I wouldn’t say it is worth your money unless you are a mega Lindsay fan.

Reviewed: Friday 25th October at London’s Playhouse Theatre. 

AFTER: Me and my friends attempted to see Lindsay up close at the stage door and we waited outside for half an hour before giving up. Both actors came out after 15-20 minutes and the doorman said Lindsay didn’t want to leave as it was raining (we were aware of this). Then we find out she shot out the main entrance to avoid the huge crowd. We were so bummed. Not just because we were hoping to see her and deserved her attention (after all, we came to see the play) but because have seen pictures of her doing so on other nights.

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