Thursday, August 20, 2009

GableStage: Speed-The-Plow (4 reviews)

GableStage's production of Speed-The-Plow opened on August 15, 2009 at its intimate space at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
Two greedy Hollywood executives are set to pitch a can't-lose deal to the studio boss when an unlikely obstacle, in the form of a seductive temp secretary, creates unexpected complications. Revived to great acclaim on Broadway in 2008, this hilarious, acid-etched satire depicts Hollywood as a culture as corrupt as the society it claims to reflect.
Joe Adler directs a cast that includes Paul Tei, Greg Weiner, and Amy Elane Anderson.

The Sun-Sentinel has declined to review this production.*

Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
This morality tale of amoral Hollywood has two juicy roles, which GableStage regulars Paul Tei and Gregg Weiner devour with relish, giving a textbook lesson in the delivery of fragmentary, foul-mouthed Mametspeak.
Tei and Weiner expertly handle Mamet’s dialogue riffs, hitting them back and forth like a killer handball match, with their enjoyment palpably evident. Anderson has the heavier lifting, since Karen -- like most female Mamet characters -- is simply less well written, but she manages the assignment well enough to keep the ball in play. A recent graduate of the University of Miami, Anderson may well turn out to be another valuable discovery of Adler’s.
(If Erstein ever bothered to check out some of the area's children's theatre productions, he would be familiar with the talented Ms. Anderson's work. Perhaps discovery would then be credited to Earl Maulding, who cast her in Klemperer's New Clothes at Actors' Playhouse three years ago. Just sayin'.)
Sean McClelland’s scenic design captures the temporary nature of the movie biz, as well as the creature comforts it affords. Adler either guides his two lead actors in their banter fest, or stays out of their way. Whichever it is, Speed-the-Plow is GableStage ... on top of its game...
Ron Levitt reviewed for ENV Magazine:
Forget about this play’s history, its Broadway successes, Mamet’s sensational script, even about its more recent controversy. What makes this GableStage production a must-see can be summed up in two words — Tei and Wiener. Despite playing despicable characters, the dynamic duo scream, slam and slap with such gusto and intensity, one can only hope no permanent damage is done.

Sean McClelland’s design for the Hollywood office, complete with its just-arrived look and Omar Martos’ lighting add to the reality of this crude culture clip of cinemaland. Don’t miss it!
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
If you're casting for predators, you can't do better than Paul Tei and Gregg Weiner — two nice-enough lads who, through some accident of genetics or upbringing, nevertheless look ready to cheat at cards, seduce your girlfriend, or snort a beach. And if you're casting for lost-lambish innocence, you can do no better than Amy Elane Anderson. When she appears onstage in Speed-the-Plow, her character's sweetness is so out of synch with her costars' reptilian cool that, addressing them, she seems to speak some foreign tongue.
At GableStage, under Joe Adler's cool direction, Speed-the-Plow is almost everything you could want Mamet to be: funny, fast, outrageous, and deep. Its one glaring flaw is a lack of slickness in the early scenes. Mamet's dialogue usually flows like baby oil through a sluice; here it just feels unwieldy...This problem fades by mid-play...
Weiner roars like a lion and soothes like a salesman...
And when Weiner turns his rage on Anderson's Karen, she reacts just as she should. She has no way of knowing what kind of wicked little world David Mamet has plunged her into. Confronted with the truth of it for the first time, she is shell-shocked, speechless, and glacier-white. She barely knows what's going on. But she'll learn the ropes soon enough. In Mamet's theater, everyone does.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler is closing out the summer with his own sizzling production of the play. His casting of Carbonell Award-winning actors Paul Tei as Bobby Gould and Gregg Weiner as Charlie Fox suggested that this Speed-the-Plow would be, at the very least, interesting. But it's better than that. When the boys are onstage talking the artful trash that is Mametspeak, GableStage's Speed-the-Plow is masterful.
...Adler makes sure that the men's orgasmic lust for money and power pulses through their every interaction. awful as Charlie and Bobby can be, Weiner and Tei make watching them -- and Speed-the-Plow -- gloriously theatrical.
Speed-The-Plow plays at GableStage through September 13, 2009.

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