The Shark is Broken is an insight into the backstage relationships of the three main actors in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and is based on the diaries of Robert Shaw; in fact, his son is one of the stars and co-writers of this play.
The Shark is Broken is set behind the scenes of the filming during the frequent and protracted periods where the iconic mechanical shark was broken.
Things start out fairly amicably between Shaw and his co-stars Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider however their relationships and interactions quickly sour as the ennui of having little to do together in a claustrophobic space sets in. Shaw is battling alcohol abuse and a lot of his internal struggles play out through an enduring physical and mental bullying of Dreyfuss.
Despite the seemingly heavy context, the piece remains rather light. All three performers are outstanding and everything including the lighting, the set and, of course, the performances come across wonderfully polished.
Reviewed by Peter Cowell