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Speed-the-Plow | New Jewish Theatre

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theat plow_smChristopher Hickey's switches between salesman, superior, partner, and suitor are sublime, as is the way he falls from the precipice and allows himself to be pulled back up.

 

theat plow

Christopher Hickey is an amazing actor. Oh, sure, I've seen him in other productions, but he seems made for the role of Bobby Gould in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow. Here, he plays a recently promoted film studio executive with a lot of bluster and debatable pull. His switches between salesman, superior, partner, and suitor are sublime, as is the way he falls from the precipice and allows himself to be pulled back up.

Although Michael James Reed was new to me, he was no less impressive—and perhaps a bit more so—as Charlie Fox. We soon learn that Bobby and Charlie were former peers, until Bobby was promoted and Charlie let go. As the story opens, Charlie barges into Bobby's office with a no brainer of a film idea. Although the script itself is garbage, it is the type of movie that will explode at the box office—and it will be helmed by a big-name director most studios could only dream about acquiring.

The first act is almost entirely a conversation between the two men, as they boast, exaggerate, and pat themselves on the back. Despite Bobby's promise that he and Charlie will share equal billing, the tension between the two—one man powerful, one whose power has been stripped—is palpable. You just know an explosion is brewing, and in this regard, the second act does not disappoint.

Helping the conflict along is Karen (Sigrid Sutter), a secretarial temp who, although at first seemingly innocuous, ultimately has her own agenda, proving herself every bit as slimy as the men. Sutter didn't really work for me here. True, her character is the least likeable, but her portrayal didn't quite feel genuine.

Although the play comes to a fitting and satisfying conclusion, the second act lacked much of the luster of the first, largely because Bobby is confused and lost through much of it. The power visibly shifts from one man to the other, with the conclusion apparent long before it arrives. This is not to say Speed-the-Plow isn't ultimately satisfying, because it is, and well worth two hours of your time. | Laura Hamlett

Speed-the-Plow runs through February 24, 2013, at the New Jewish Theatre. For show times, ticket prices, and other information, please visit the theater's website.

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