Oh, Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay…
No, not because she screwed up, far from it, but this must be the most Lindsay-heavy production ever. Two out of the cast of three in David Mamet‘s satirical poke at Hollywood, Speed-the-Plow are Lindsays, Lindsay Lohan and Nigel Lindsay and it’s also directed by a Lindsay (Posner). Poor Richard Schiff must feel the odd one out.
And to complete the Lindsay List, Mamet was once married to the actress Lindsay Crouse. Phew!
What you really want to know is how was she? Reports of heavy prompting at the first preview became news items. Everyone was expecting (or hoping for) a car crash. This was the sixth preview and she’s clearly on top of things, well, ok there was one discrete prompt, but Phil and his companion for the evening Janet, think the prompter possibly panicked and came in too quickly. She was fine. No, she was more than fine. She’s actually pretty damn good with unexpected stage presence and for Phil – who’s never actually seen a Lindsay Lohan film and only knows her from tabloid headlines – a surprisingly appealing rasp in her voice.
Quite remarkable for someone with no professional stage experience and everyone waiting for her to fail. No pressure eh? Initially (and it’s quite a time before she appears, which only adds to the frisson), she seemed unfeasibly nervous until you realise she’s acting nervousness so well. Well, that’s what we assumed. Phil was so convinced he nearly had an anxiety attack.
She plays Karen (a part originated by Madonna on Broadway), temp secretary to Hollywood producer Bobby Gould (the one who was in West Wing and isn’t a Lindsay, totally splendid), who is about to join forces with another producer Charlie Fox (N. Lindsay – exuberantly sweaty) who has secured the services of a well known star but only if they can nail the deal in time. Gould is reading a proof copy of a dreary book about the effects of radiation as a duty, knowing it has no filmic potential. He passes it to Karen to read for him, not realising that over the course of an evening she’ll persuade him to dump the blockbuster in favour of turning the esoteric, apocalyptic novel into a movie. Though we were puzzled why he can’t produce both.
It all rips along in 1 hour 35 minutes including an unnecessary interval, with lots of quick fire, rat-a-tat-tat, often overlapping, dialogue (no wonder she had problems learning it), clearly gripping the pretty packed Playhouse Theatre’s auditorium. You could have heard a pin drop. Though possibly everyone was straining to hear any prompts.
You’ve got to hand it to Lilo, she’s clearly got balls. But this is a clever piece of casting by Theatre Royal Bath productions; the underestimated star playing an underestimated secretary fits her like a glove. Assuming she lasts the run (bookies are apparently offering 2-1 odds she’ll be sacked) she’ll be seen in a new light. Phil’s now going to break his Lohan film virginity starting with Mean Girls.
We were up close, centre front row dayseats for £20 and only three people waiting (though this may change once word gets out) by the time the box office opened at 10am.
Sorry to disappoint you, but people coming to observe a train wreck should stay away. Expect Pete Doherty in a West End musical before long.