Friday, February 22, 2008


After last year's A Moon for the Misbegotten, it's possible I'll have another chance to see Kevin Spacey on Broadway.

Spacey, Jeff Goldbum and Laura Michelle Kelly are getting rave reviews in David Mamet's six-hander Speed-the-Plow at the Old Vic Theatre in London. Spacey and Goldblum play Hollywood producers and Kelly is Goldblum's secretary in this caustic, satirical look at the inner workings of the movie business.

Spacey, the Old Vic's artisitic director, wants to bring the production to Broadway. But the New York Post's Michael Riedel reports that Mamet has given the rights to producer Jeffrey Richards, who presented a revival of Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross in 2005.

The British critics, who haven't always been kind to Spacey during his tenure at the Old Vic, seem to be giving this production pretty high marks. As a big fan of Mr. Spacey's, I'm extremely happy for him.

In The Times, Benedict Nightingale writes: "Imagine a game of ping-pong played with several balls, some filled with hand-grenades, and you’ve the way Spacey and Goldblum manage a swaggering, streetwise poetry that overlaps, breaks off, explodes. The speed is tremendous: less a run than an Olympic sprint over hurdles, with double-somersaults in between. It’s as expertly acrobatic as the Cirque du Soleil — and funnier than anything their clowns have recently concocted."

Two of my favorite London theater bloggers, the very witty and erudite West End Whingers, call Speed-the-Plow a hit for Spacey. "The dialogue is very witty (Mamet at his best) and when Goldblum and Spacey are on the stage together it’s often quite mesmerising (not a word you hear on these pages very often)."

One of the things that's always impressed me about Spacey is his absolute devotion to the theater. Here's his description of the difference between plays and movies: "Movies sometimes affect people. But the theatre is real and it’s tangible. The theatre is one of the most thrilling and memorable experiences that an audience can have."

According to Riedel, David Mamet is heading to London soon to see the show, which runs through April 26. Spacey is "close to Mamet and has plenty of critical ammunition with which to make his case. He can also point to his box office: Speed-the-Plow, a source reports, is the hottest ticket in London right now." I'm crossing my fingers that he succeeds.

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