New Theatre’s staging of Glengarry Glen Ross is a cracker of a show. David Mamet’s Pulitzer-Prize winning drama demands staccato direction and acting, and the production delivers, including clever set design (Tom Bannerman), lighting (Ole Borch) and Director Louise Fischer‘s sure-handed guidance that brings every element together for a sometimes explosive performance.
Fischer has assembled a fantastic ensemble, each of whom live their roles in tiny movements of despair and triumph. Originally an all-male cast, several characters are played by women, adding another layer to the testosterone-fueled environment of sales of dodgy real estate. It’s a scintillating treat to watch Hannah Raven tapping her high heels in impatience.
Treated to a vicious lambast, these already sidelined salespeople face a stark fate: get fired or land a place on top of a contest board. They are a gathering of losers, and a microcosm of the worst of office politics magnified by financial desperation. In a Chinese restaurant with much racist commentary, Levene (Mark Langham) is losing everything, especially his dignity, as he begs the office manager (Carole Levien) for a break. Meanwhile, the crazily outstanding actress Raven (rep Moss) is directing a verbal breakdance to her colleague Aaronow (Andrew Simpson, played with excruciatingly comic bewilderment). Other characters jump in, such as Roma (Richard Blake), who leans into his once-mentor’s fantasies of everlasting success.
It is a sorry tale, and its pathos and humour come through in this thoroughly engaging show.
Until Apr 10. New Theatre, 542 King St, Newtown. $20-$35+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.newtheatre.org.au