Performance not personality should rule the roost for those who care what we feel and experience in the theatre. But director Lindsay Posner had to contend with a circus of media madness when he cast Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan for the production of Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet. And cope he did.
Speed-the-Plow is a satire about Hollywood movies. A huge star agrees to appear in a sure-fire commercial hit movie for small-time producer Charlie Fox (Nigel Lindsay), who takes it to big shot producer Bobby Gould (Richard Schiff) to greenlight. But a seedy suggestion planted by Charlie results in the attractive new secretary Karen (Lindsay Lohan) persuading Gould to dump Charlie’s project in favour of her meaningful story resulting from an epiphany. Charlie resorts to any means necessary to get Gould back on track.
Previous reviews concentrated on the private life of a performer with little about the actual performance. Lindsay Lohan, there, yes she is a Hollywood actress, who does things in life as stars and ordinary people do. It was previously reported that Lindsay Lohan could not remember her lines but she seem to delivered them extremely well when I attended. Indeed, the world she created lingered like the finish of a fine claret long after I left the theatre. Lindsay Lohan’s London stage debut in David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow delivered smouldering passion to refresh a character often treated as a sexual object with manipulative objectives. Hollywood producer Gould, played by Richard Schiff, is prone to flattery, favours and manipulation of any kind is suddenly challenged by his attractive new temporary assistant. Schiff skims the surface of good and bad as he moves between seducing and admiring Karen for her beliefs instead of her body. Lindsay Lohan uses her vulnerable star quality to transform Gould. Nigel Lindsay is less convincing if only he had spent time making his performance believable rather than his bad and highly unbelievable American accent.
Lindsay Posner, the director manages to shake David Mamet’s play out of the world of Adam and Eve as often seen in the likes of Oleanna and Speed-the-Plow. Posner reveals the usual maligning of manipulating women also has an opposite side, a world which exploits and manipulates naive women. Twist then turn again I say.
Speed the Plow played at the Playhouse Theatre in London.
This is a rather late review, there is a very good reason for my tardiness, alas I cannot recall what it is.