Theatre: Romance

Caught David Mamet's latest play Romance last night which was an unusual experience. It took a while to dawn on me that this is a farce and a bit of an odd one at that where the dialogue actually doesn't help with the comprehension of what the story is about. By the second scene however it began to make sense to me that it doesn't make sense. So if you could sit back and enjoy the ride then you would have the time of your life as middle east politics, burnt stew, gays and goys take over... Most of the time saying fuck this and fuck that in that very tasteful way that only David Mamet can put it.

By the time the interval came around and we were doing post first act analysis, A commented that he wasn't so sure about it. A friend of his quipped that he didn't understand it at all but was absolutely transfixed by the lunch actor Nigel Lindsay was carrying in his trousers. I think it was the cut that made the trousers hang in this particular way but whatever the reason Linsay seemed to have won many new admirers... The sparring his character has with his attorney in the second scene I thought stood up on its own merits without adding his lunch in my opinion anyway...

But by the end of the play however I suspect that many more people were won over by all the nonsense. There were lots of smart one-liners and it all made for a very silly evening out. Notwithstanding the distraction of Lindsay's lunch, it was a teriffic ensemble cast as well. John Mahoney was particularly memorable as a judge who gets carried away, takes too many pills and forgets what the hell he is doing in the courtroom. He has such great comic timing and catching him afterwards he commented on how much fun he has playing the role. It may not have been written for him, but he did seem well suited to the role.

After the show talking to a few other people there was a smug sense of satisfaction that the derogatory comments referred to in the play are not the usual talk engaged by Londoners. Well, maybe not in Islington where they are much too sophistimicated for that sort of thing but in other parts of the city anything is fair game. Perhaps a trashy comedy about London stereotypes is long overdue.

Incidentally it was opening night last night and the critics seem to be either trashing it or praising it. Cheap laughs aren't easy to get in the theatre so it was worth going to see this one... Just brush up on your ethnic slurs (or take a New Yawker with you)...

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