Monday, 22 June 2015

American Buffalo : How the nickel rule (part 4)

American Buffalo
Wyndham Theatre was just a stones throw away from Covent Garden and I hadn't booked a seat but checked at their box office and luckily one ticket was available in the stalls. This Mamet production has a limited run and it has a great cast with John Goodman, Damien Lewis & Tom Sturridge. Not to be missed !

 I left entourage to Leicester square and settled down typically not really knowing much about the play. Mamet for me is Glengarry Glen Ross and the Untouchables. As I was sat on the end there would be plenty of people wanting to get by so I took a picture (though I'd left the flash on... )  as a  rule someone is bound to then tell the whole auditorium "No photography allowed" It's probably a bit more difficult to do some Sickert type paintings of theatre interiors these days. Still, it's a beautiful interior.
             I was sat next to a nice American lady Anna Beth. Now, I had the seat because her London friend was ill and couldn't come to tonights performance. I felt a bit bad about that taking up her chair as more of her friends were sat behind. But I hoped I was good company as we chatted and as it turns out I was sitting next to John Goodman's wife! This is London and it felt like I was now mixing with the Hollywood crowd... I wasn't. The Goodman's live in New Orleans :) Very much down to earth. It was interesting to hear about the rhythm of the play and how each performance adds to a new perspective. It was nice to have met Anna Beth and to hear about John and his work. His next appearance in a film is in Trumbo (a September release) and we talked about The Monuments Men too.

The theatre is an experience to enjoy and I didn't know what to expect yet it really does have the edge over film and TV (and the internet). The drama and excitement of the stage is that it lives in the moment and American Buffalo takes place within the interior detritus and assorted bric-a-brac of a period junk shop.
     Soon it becomes apparent we're seeing a snapshot in the life of small-time crooks...hellbent on robbing a nearby house of a customer who has just paid a high price for an old Buffalo Nickel. Which in turn exposes both their loyalties and opens wounds of friendship.
     Sturridge plays Bob as a snarly low life character who yearns for Don's (John Goodman) approval. Once Teach (Damien Lewis) arrives on the scene he commands and struts his way through Don's territory (being the business owner) and there is a rivalry between them as Teach in the life he leads and 'the way I live it' eventually breaks down bonds of trust between them.
      Damien adds a zest of humour to the role which lightens the mood and heightens the shock of his angry tirades. Goodman's timing on the phone to Fletcher is impeccable and both their spars of wit and comedy provides the audience with many moments of laughter. Their confrontations adds to the turmoil of loyalties as their idea of the planned burglary is pulled apart in Act 2 as Don thwarts the job for his (more than?) fatherly yearnings for Bob.
       As Teach resorts to violence to take it out on Bob lying the atmosphere becomes heavy like lead. The weight of money, power & betrayal in the business is exposed. And for what? Money over..loyalty..friendship, love? A light dims on The American dream as it crumbles before Teach's eyes. Those that don't even feel they belong...they are the dispossessed, the excluded, the poor, the wretched..the dream is too elusive.

(much more the opposite of the hollywood fantasy of entourage..)

How do you prove your worth...from how I remember a few lines

Teach : Just to let you know I'm not mad at yer's okay
Don : Ok
Teach : That's all I'm saying..I'm not mad at you. No way uh uh. That's not how I do business
Don : What about Fletcher?
Teach : F*** Fletcher
Don : What? What do you mean ?
Teach : About Fletcher ?
Don: Yeah Teach, what about Fletcher?

Teach : Fletcher he's a cards Don. It was right in front of your eyes
Don : When?
Teach : The other night. When we was playing cards. Don, you remember he had a Flush
Don : Yeah, I remember
Teach : And how many cards did he take?
Don : One
Teach : No. No Don, it was two. He's cheating, can't you see. He's no good
Don : No good. What about Bob?
Teach : Bob's nothing. He's nothing to do with us Don. This is our business. You and me
Don: Our business?
Teach : Like I'm saying Don. I'm not Mad at yers for letting Fletcher in on the job okay
Don : Okay.
Teach : Okay then
Don : But say if the doors are locked. How will we get in?
Teach : Through the window
Don : But what if the window is locked


  I hope when Anna Beth and Molly see the show there will be a few less people coughing in the audience and that nobody's mobile goes off or someone sitting close by doesn't makes weird noises from having loose dentures..! Oh the fun and joys of theatre...  

and to Broadway?   
American Buffalo until 27th June

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