Written By GingersnapComments Off on Damian Lewis and John Goodman Head Up This Starry West End of David Mamet’s Classic Play About Small Time Crooks – April 28, 2015
Damian Lewis and John Goodman head up this starry West End of David Mamet’s classic play about small time crooks
It would be mean, cheap and generally a bit dickish to say that Damian Lewis’s big post-‘Homeland’, post-‘Wolf Hall’ return to the London stage is overshadowed by some comedy facial hair. Nonetheless: if you think the above photo of his moustache is a bit on the distracting side then seriously, you should see the thing live.
David Mamet’s classic 1975 play ‘American Buffalo’ is a three hander, and in Daniel Evans’s enjoyable but busy production, Lewis, rising Brit talent Tom Sturridge, and old American hand John Goodman each sort of do their own thing to entertaining if not entirely cohesive effect.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Review: American Buffalo Four Stars – April 28, 2015
Review: American Buffalo, Wyndham’s Theatre
David Mamet’s muscular comedy, starring John Goodman, Tom Sturridge and Damian Lewis, is revived with style
By Lucy Brooks – Culture Whisper – April 28, 2015
American Buffalo cast, photo by Johan Persson
American Buffalo is typical David Mamet: a taut three-hander that’s all talk. The dynamic between the have-a-go-hustlers is testosterone-heavy, meaty and littered with expletives. Action is sparse and the characters are dissatisfied outliers of the American Dream.
This revival brings the shabby clutter of a Chicago junk shop to London with loving attention to detail and the stylish touch of assorted Americana suspended from above, penning in a claustrophobic stage. Within this shop interior we see the rhythms of everyday life, full of gripes over money lost in poker and what to eat for breakfast. But when the titular American Buffalo, a 24-karat bullion coin minted in 2006 by the US government, gives a chance to make a quick buck, a convoluted plan emerges, warps and collapses.
John Goodman, superbly cast as long-suffering shopkeeper Don, negates a contradictory mixture of self-seeking ambition, caution and sympathy as he is persuaded to evolve his petty criminal plans and replace the dopey sidekick Bobby with smooth-talking Teach. His expressiveness ekes out the comedy between the lines, and as the only American on stage, Goodman’s natural cadence makes Mamet’s script feel the most vivid.
Already under the spotlight thanks to a starring role in Far From the Madding Crowd, Tom Sturridge as Bobby holds his own on stage, keeping the spacey slur just subtle enough to leave us guessing over his sobriety. And while there is plenty of humour, there is nothing parodic about his portrayal of a recently recovering addict; vulnerability and pathos stay close to the surface.
But Damian Lewis stole the show. Oozing seventies sleaze with a flared burgundy suit, handlebar ‘tache and sideburns, he masters the gift of the gab. As the charismatic but usurping Teach he had not just the characters but the audience eating out his hand. And for all the flashiness, Lewis also reveals underlying insecurities. All the insidious self-promotion and confidence in talking down others is offset by a deep discontentment, conveyed in a rare moment of wordlessness and flash of frenzied action.
Written By DamianistaComments Off on American Buffalo review – Damian Lewis is right on the money in Mamet classic, The Guardian, April 27, 2015
American Buffalo review – Damian Lewis is right on the money in Mamet classic
by Michael Billington, The Guardian, April 27, 2015
Daniel Evans’s production is meticulous is its psychological and physical detail, and there are fine performances from Lewis, John Goodman and Tom Sturridge.
A sign in the foyer says “Please be warned this play contains explicit language”. But the beauty of David Mamet’s 40-year-old play is how much of its meaning remains implicit. Through the microscopic realism of its portrait of three American no-hopers, played here by a stellar trio of John Goodman, Damian Lewis and Tom Sturridge, it reverberates with political and ethical possibilities.
Band of brothers: Damian Lewis, John Goodman and Tom Sturridge in rehearsal for the London revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo Photo: Jenny Lewis
It is a week into rehearsals for the new production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo, and the play’s three actors,John Goodman, Damian Lewis and Tom Sturridge, have been getting to know each other. They have been to lunch. They have been playing poker. (Who won, I ask? “Becca,” says Sturridge ruefully, referring to the production’s youthful assistant stage manager, who has been ruthlessly cleaning them all out.) And, of course, there have been long and earnest discussions about the text.
“There are few things that are more revealing about someone than the way that they talk about a piece of literature or a play,” Sturridge says. “You very quickly come to have a much deeper understanding of someone than you would if you just mingled together in a pub saying, ‘All right, how are you?’ Very quickly we were talking in an intimate way about how people feel.”