by David Mamet.

Clwyd Theatr Cymru (Emlyn Williams Theatre) CH7 1YA To 24 November 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Sat Mat 2.45pm.
Audio-described 15 Nov, 24 Nov 2.45pm.
Captioned 17 Nov 2.45pm.
Post-show Discussion 15, 22 Nov.
Runs 1hr 50min One interval.

TICKETS: 0845 330 3565.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 10 November.

Vivid revival of acquisitive society red in tooth and claw.
Nearly 30 years after it was first seen, in London, David Mamet’s real-estate drama seems increasingly expressive of his intricate way with plots, and a keen, concise dissection of capitalist society in its callous, exhilarating nakedness.

Three short scenes in a restaurant introduce the salesmen whose life or death depends on taking money. Anger’s fuelled by desperation; power brings cool command. No love exists to be lost. The arch-salesman never loses a chance, picking-up a possible prospect – Lingk – who is sitting outside the eaterie’s circulating booth (money makes this world go round), till enticed in.

Director Kate Wasserberg doesn’t go for lean, mean men of property. Apart from young manager Williamson, the material life has left its mark in the greyed-out anger of sinking Levene, (who has to shout loud to ensure attention sort-of gets paid) and the girths of the men who sell worthless land for fat cheques.

Roma tops the charts in selling dreams and the illusion of friendship, through faked scenarios and outright lies. Christian Patterson delivers the life, and the lies, in the contrast between his confident, syrupy improvisations and rock-smashing fury at the boss who undermines him. If that abashes Sion Pritchard’s Williamson, it also generates a hidden, murmuring fury which wreaks revenge lower down the chain.

Property-owning, signal of democracy, becomes the subject of aggression and competition, a thing of value that destroys values. It’s almost too evident at first in Wasserberg’s production, but the various pitches soon chime with each other in an aggro-symphony of discords. Brendan Charleson, as the puzzled customer, the ‘mark’ of these contract-wielding legal fraudsters, stands quietly puzzled in their lair, apologising to men without morals, whose only concern is topping the monthly sales figures that mean reward or unemployment.

Designer Max Jones opens out the isolated restaurant booth to the spacious offices, the morning following a break-in (an insider job, naturally – nowhere’s safe with these men). Paper litters the floor, though hardly anyone notices, so bound are they in their own agendas. A bleak, furious horrifying vision, forcefully revived, and more immediate in its impact than ever.

Levene: David Shaw-Parker.
Williamson: Sion Pritchard.
Moss: Simon Holland Roberts.
Aaronow: Wayne Cater.
Roma: Christian Patterson.
Lingk: Brendan Charleson.
Baylen: Kai Owen.

Director: Kate Wasserberg.
Designer: Max Jones.
Lighting: Nick Beadle.
Costume: Ruth Hall.
Dialect coach: Rick Lipton.

2012-11-11 20:00:39

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