Stage Left: Speed the Plow

About a week ago, Ben’s lovely friend Kat offered to take him to the theatre to see Speed the Plow, as she had cheap tickets. Sadly he couldn’t go, but knowing how much I love the theatre, he knew exactly who to recommend in his stead. So a few days later, Kat and I met outside Embankment tube station, and made the short journey to the Playhouse Theatre.

As you may well know, this show is best known for playing host to Lindsay Lohan’s stage debut. The troubled child star has been responsible for most of the press surrounding this production, and the theatre have certainly embraced that in their promotio055nal images. But to be fair, her character is the catalyst for 90% of this play’s action, so critics be hushed. However, Kat and I were both admittedly fascinated to see if Lindsay Lohan can still act, and therefore I have to admit it was more out of fascination than a general interest in the plot of the play that drew us there. I actually feel quite sorry for her co-stars, as they have become completely overshadowed in the play’s publicity.

The play itself was set in 1988 (you can certainly tell in the clothing – hello red Gordon Gecko braces!), and is billed as a Hollywood satire. It is a cast of only three: Richard Schiff, Nigel Lindsay, and Lindsay Lohan. Schiff and Lindsay play Bobby Gould and Charlie Fox respectively, and they work in the brutal film industry. They have twenty four hours until they pitch a big film idea to Gould’s boss. In the interim, they make a bet involving Gould’s temporary secretary, Karen. Gould wins $500 if he can tempt Karen to his house and sleep with her. So he gives her one of the books which has come to their agency, and asks her to give it a ‘courtesy read’, then come to his place that evening with a summary. And it all goes off from there…

056I was surprised at how small the theatre was, but because the cast list was so small, it helped you to connect with the characters more than you would have many, many tiers up in the gods. The play is also very short – the interval took place after only thirty minutes! But to be honest I wouldn’t have been able to cope with three hours sat there.

054My views on the play were mixed. I thought the actors were all very good – they performed their roles with panache, and they were believable characters. However, when I say believable, I certainly don’t mean ‘likeable’ – I couldn’t bring myself to like any of the characters. Of the three, Lindsay Lohan’s character, Karen, was perhaps the most relatable, and the one I felt most sympathy for. Gould and Fox were arrogant, chauvinistic, ruthless and generally unpleasant. I know that this was due to the nature of the story as a satire on what is, at its core, an unpleasant and ruthless business. But it didn’t exactly make for exciting watching. Kat and I left the theatre unsure of how to feel about what we’d just seen.

Overall I am glad that I went and that I saw the play. To all the Li-Lo haters, she wasn’t actually bad. Nervous? Yes. A bad actress? Not at all. She delivered her lines well and with conviction (She is also beautiful in real life, a little like a shy fawn skittering around the stage, and I really enjoyed her clothing choices as well). But I wouldn’t go back again. To me, it was a one-off experience.

053If you fancy going along to indulge your curiosity, tickets are still available and the performances run until 29th November. Buy them here.

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