- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Review: Mamet’s ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ crackles
A crackling revival of his excellent “Glengarry Glen Ross” opened Saturday at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, a few steps from his latest play, “The Anarchist.”
Within a block, you can see Mamet’s past and present. And that may be unnerving for a man this brilliant. “The Anarchist” was roasted by critics and will limp off the stage after just 40 performances. It will be survived by a 30-year-old ghost, a play as lively as “The Anarchist” was arid.
“Glengarry Glen Ross,” a foul-mouthed brilliantly created and insightful look at men in the modern work place, is drenched in testosterone and verbal trickery, whereas “The Anarchist,” a long-winded conversation between an inmate and a warden, was unexciting and lifeless.
But lifeless is not the first word that comes to mind while watching director Daniel Sullivan’s fresh look at two days in the lives of four desperate Chicago real estate salesmen. Sullivan and his first rate cast plumb the play for its humor, so often lost amid the darkness and paranoia others have chosen to tease out.
This “Glengarry Glen Ross” is a hoot. The timing is pretty good too: Florida real estate and horrible desperation in offices is now in vogue.
The big star, of course, is Al Pacino, who plays Shelly “The Machine” Levene, the once-winning-but-now-struggling salesman. Pacino and Sullivan last teamed up with “The Merchant of Venice” on Broadway and they risk the same result: Pacino is Pacino and, by definition, unbalances any production.
Here he works hard to be meek and chummy and desperate and mostly succeeds, though it’s hard not to think you’re watching Al Pacino working hard to be meek and chummy and desperate.
His eyes bulge, he plays with his hair, he takes long pauses while staring to get his point across _ he bobs up and down in the Mamet dialogue, sometimes relishing the theatricality of the role and other times losing himself in it. That matches the Levene character, who is down and then up, then down again. Pacino’s eyes blaze triumphantly when he’s the cat, but later he is piteous as the mouse, begging “listen. Just one moment.”
The rest of the cast is first-rate: Richard Schiff, who played fidgety Toby Ziegler on “The West Wing,” is hysterical as the manipulative George Aaronow; David Harbour, of “The Coast of Utopia,” is lovely as the crumbling office manager; John C. McGinley, the abrasive senior doctor on “Scrubs,” is wonderfully clueless as Dave Moss; and Jeremy Shamos, who got a Tony Award nomination for “Clybourne Park,” is heartbreaking as a weak-willed customer.
It falls to Bobby Cannavale from “The Motherf–— With the Hat” to become the gravitational force holding the scenes together and he steps up with a first-rate Richard Roma, a role played by Pacino in a film version. Cannavale is perfectly cast _ a snarling good-looking, swaggering actor who can also be a goodfella, a nice listener if you’ve got a problem.
He reels in Shamos’ character in the first act with such slick bravado that it’s no wonder checkbooks open around town. In Act 2, Cannavale’s slick-backed cool _ “let’s talk about you” _ is dropped as his Roma rails against the office manager and the police officer investigating a break-in at the office.
Mamet is back _ but maybe not the way he wanted. “Glengarry Glen Ross” is a reminder of his potential. His present languid, overly intellectual work, will, to steal a phrase from this old show, “always be closing.”
Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Six Senate seats could hinge on Keystone pipeline
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- Italy outraged over U.S. gun dealer's 'David' ad
- CURL: The modern GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again