intraspace: the review lounge

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Speed-the-plow at the Old Vic

On Wednesday, Mim (my wife) and I went to see a David Mamet play called Speed-the-Plow at the Old Vic theatre in London. We'd never been to see a "serious" modern play before, and so we were a bit apprehensive especially as it only features three actors. Part of the draw was definitely the fact that Kevin Spacey (who's the artistic director at the Old Vic) and Jeff Goldblum were the two leads, giving us a chance to see a couple of brilliant (and famous) actors working on stage.

On the whole we were really impressed. The play is driven by snappy dialogue, and watching those two guys acting live made me realise just how good they are at acting. The sets were fairly minimal, and our seats had a slightly restricted view which sadly coincided with the exact spot where at least one character sat for much of the play! What really surprised me was how much I enjoyed the story (which I won't spoil for you - you can find a precis on Wikipedia).

I'd always been worried that I would find modern plays incomprehensible or boring, I guess in a parallel to the way in which I find a great deal of modern classical music impossible to engage with. But as it happens the play did such an enjoyable job of skewering the moral bankruptcy of modern film-making, that I am now keen to go and see some other modern plays. There were downsides - despite being a comment on Hollywood's corruption of art in the pursuit of making money, the play features some fairly offensive language and a liberal sexual morality, but I guess you could argue that the playwright was attempting to reflect the culture he was portraying - it would be ironic if he had included populist material in order to entice people to pay to see the play.


  • isenguard makes his maiden post! nice work bro.

    it really is worth seeing these film actors on stage, especially the classically trained ones. anna and i went to the royal shakespeare company production 'the hollow crown' a few years ago and saw derek jacobi, ian richardson, donald sinden an diana rigg. great stuff.

    By Blogger andrew killick, at 10:09 AM  

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