By Julie Wallis twitter.com/NiceNic63
Glengarry Glen Ross at
The Alexandra, Birmingham
Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet is at The Alexandra all this week and tells the story of American real estate agents, brokers and realtors in a cut throat industry. They compete to win Cadillacs or holidays to Hawaii, but successful sales depend of good leads and good leads don’t come easy, not if you find your leads honestly.
How far are these salesmen willing to go to succeed in business? This play has a lot of laugh out loud moments as well as being fast paced and clever with its writing.
The first few minutes tells us the audience how competitive and how hard the real estate business is for the likes of Shelly Levine (Mark Benton), we quickly realise it’s a cut throat industry with no room for any deadwood. Shelly has a family, a daughter so he must beat all the competition but competition comes from Ricky Roma (Nigel Harman) who seems to have zero in the way of scruples. There is also a lot of colourful language, with almost every expletive I know being thrown around as the co-workers argue and fight after their office is subject to a break in.
Glengarry Glen Ross opens in a deserted restaurant where Shelly Levene is trying to buy new leads from his boss John Williamson (Scott Sparrow), but John is not giving in to Shelly as Shelly tries every tactic to get John to give in. From begging to bribery and everything in between, we understand that sales matter very much to Shelly.
The set looks great but when the curtains open for part two, it suddenly becomes clear as to why the interval was a little longer than I’m used to. The stage has been totally transformed into ransacked offices and it looks terrific.
All of the actors are sporting convincingly good American accents and Zephryn Taitte as the detective investigating the break in has got ‘angry Chicago cop’ off to a t, as does James Staddon as henpecked James Lingk. Voice and dialect coach Richard Ryder has done great work with everyone, including the two remaining realtors Dave Moss (Denis Conway) and George Aaronow (Wil Johnson)
Glengarry Glen Ross packs a lot of story into into a little under two hours, it seemed to be over really fast. It’s a small cast and only two sets but I really did feel like a fly on the wall listening to every conversation, as I was totally in Chicago last night.
Even though Glengarry Glen Ross has been on stage since the 1980’s it’s not a play I was familiar with at all so I was surprised to find the ending left me feeling so sad.
Even after all the laughs this is a bittersweet ending with a wonderful cast and some fantastic acting. Judging from the whoops and cheers of last nights audience at the Alexandra I was not the only one who loved this performance.
Glengarry Glen Ross is at The Alexandra until 23rd February. Book tickets here: atgtickets.com/shows/glengarry-glen-ross/alexandra-theatre-birmingham
This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to a the press night of Glengarry Glen Ross by The Alexandra.
When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Julie Wallis can be found on her own blog at redandgoldweb.wordpress.com