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Speed-the-Plow and Popcorn

Drams Popcorn: 1, Speed-the-Plow: 2
Venue C venue (34)
Address Adam House, Chambers St
Runs 1-26 Aug (not 14th) Speed-the-Plow at 7pm (8:20), Popcorn at 8:30pm (10:00)
Tickets £7.50 (£5.50)
Reviewer Alison Pease & Daniel Winterstein
Benet Catty Productions present a double-bill of Hollywood satires. David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow followed by Ben Elton's Popcorn - an electric piece of theatre.

Speed-the-Plow is the weaker show - in both production and script. Nevertheless it's a sharp and funny play. Quintessential Mamet, it has cynical hard-talking American men - studio execs in this case - but with gentle and quite sympathetic characterisation. On the eve of a big deal, Bobby (Gerry Howell) and Charles (Brett Goldstein) make a bet about the sweet new secretary. Things get ugly.

Popcorn is a fast moving and gripping production. The Mall murderers, Wayne (Jon Drever) and Scout (Emma Cooper), are addicted to glamorous, violent movies, and divide their time between watching television and going on exhilaratingly flippant killing rampages. Bruce Delamitri (Brett Goldstein again in a marathon piece of acting), as the director of their favourite movie, is their hero. The play starts when they go to visit him and actress Brook (Hannah Pettifer), who is hoping for a part in his next film. Casually holding them at gunpoint, Wayne struts around in the style of his movie heros while Scout watches him admiringly with an intriguing mixture of shyness at being with such important people, and violence, showing a complete disregard for human life.

Director Benet Catty manages to interweave the reality of the hostage situation with the fiction of Bruce's violent films, in which killing occurs in slow motion to a rock and roll sound track. The play is a satirical thriller which examines the question of responsibility for one's own actions, and the role of violent films in creating or mirroring society.

The cast and director do full justice to one of Elton's funniest plays. Thoroughly recommended!


� Alison Pease & Daniel Winterstein, 2nd August 2001

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