REVIEW: Glengarry Glen Ross (Playhouse Theatre) ★★★★

Sam Yates’ revival of Glengarry Glen Ross is a watertight production of David Mamet’s beloved play. When Glengarry Glen Ross premiered in the ‘80s it won every award going, and was later adapted into a hit film starring Al Pacino.

The glitzy cast, led by Christian Slater, do a lovely job with Mamet’s stylised dialogue. Four quintessential American real estate salesman use their gift of the gab to manipulate their customers and each other, while plotting a mutiny against their yuppy-ish office manager whose job it is to ‘marshall the leads’.

On the night I was in, Robert Glenister (Dave Moss) was taken ill early in the performance, and his understudy Mark Carlisle took over the role. Carlisle was on-book but did an admirable job with his dense, rhythmic speaking part and was clearly well in tune with the rest of the cast despite the lack of preparation.

Production values are high. Chiara Stephenson’s designs create an atmospheric diner for the first act and a scruffy, claustrophobic office for the second. Overall, it’s a very good revival of what is clearly a highly popular show and it will certainly find its audience.

However, I doubt it will be particularly successful at introducing young audiences to this retro classic. The ‘80s themes certainly speak to the modern day – the ‘American dream’ is still a hot topic, and much of the social commentary is still relevant. However, the narrative itself feels stale, and it’s not clear anymore what Mamet is trying to tell us.

Nevertheless, this show has been very nicely put together. It’s an affectionate revival with great performances, and those who liked the film or the original play will almost certainly enjoy it.

Reviewed by Annabel Mellor
Photo: Marc Brenner