Theatre Review: Glengarry Glen Ross |
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Hollywood heartthrob Christian Slater stars alongside a dazzling cast in Glengarry Glen Ross, the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play about four Chicago real estate agents who’ll do anything to clinch a sale, including breaking the law. Tense, gripping and intensely feral, this riveting storyline will have you hooked right from the off. Here’s everything you need to know about this darkly dramatic, volatile play…

What’s it about?

Based on David Mamet’s prize-winning play, this gripping revival comes 34 years after its world premiere, which aired at the National’s Cottesloe. The play, which was also adapted into a film back in the nineties starring Jack Lemon and Al Pacino, tells the story of a group of ruthless real estate salesmen who fight against each other in any way they can – fraudster tricks, deception and greed are incredibly rife here – to soar to the top of the sales chart.

Glengarry Glen Ross refers to a group of worthless plots which the four trickster salesmen attempt to sell to a selection of gullible clients, or ‘leads’ as they call them in the business. At the end of the month, they’re pushed by office boss Williamson (played by Love Actually’s Kris Marshall) to reveal their final sales numbers, which results in the four of them pitting against each other in a desperate attempt to close the deal and cling onto their jobs. These conmen will stop at nothing – and we mean nothing, there’s bulling, break-ins and interrogations galore – to come out on top. The tension throughout the play is palpable.

Who’s in it?

Director Sam Yates is at the helm, with Christian Slater taking the lead as the merciless Ricky Roma – if you weren’t a Christian Slater fan before, we guarantee by the end of this play you will be – alongside Stanley Townsend, who plays veteran salesman ‘The Machine’ Levene, Robert Gleinster as the manipulatively sly Moss, Don Warrington as the pitifully influenced Aaronow, and Kris Marshall who plays the part of the uptight office manager perfectly.

When and where is it set?

Set in early 1980s Chicago – you’ll love the duster jackets, slick suits and towering retro filing cabinets – the first scene takes place in a lantern-laced Chinese restaurant, and focuses on circling conversations between each of the salesmen, as they consider doing a vengeful job inside the office to steal some leads, whilst the second half of the play – and this is where things really start to heat up – takes place inside the testosterone-fuelled office.

What did we think?

Intensely gripping with showstopping performances from the entire cast, this dog-eat-dog tale of capitalism, greed and callous deception had us totally transfixed right from the start. The bitingly witty, rapid dialogue is so intricately woven we were on on the edge of our seat, waiting to hear more and more.

The clever storyline, like an emotional rollercoaster, unravels slowly to reach an explosive climax, as each of the salesmen realise their impending demise. Christian Slater is superb, as are the rest of the cast, who bounce off each other with effortless flair. And despite its sinister undertones, the play manages to evoke a sense of titillating humour that brings a lightheartedness to this callous, toxic plotline.

Where’s it showing?

Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, WC2N 5DE, running until February 2018.


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