Glengarry Glen Ross
CHLOE COLEMAN and LEYLA HAMID are impressed by real estate made interesting in this new production.
The ADC, Tues 7th – Sat 11th May, 7.45pm, £10/£8
“I enjoyed it, but just had no idea what was going on.” Such were the words of a fellow audience member as we exit the ADC – and she’s not far off the mark. Set in the world of ‘80s Chicago real estate, this play was a whirlwind of testosterone, swear words and boundless competition.
We witness four real estate agents battle it out for the top ‘leads’ in the world of buying and selling, vying for a spot on the all-important leader board. The ruthless craving for success leads to desperate measures, as they forgo morality to get to the top.
The problem is we never really find out what these ‘leads’ actually are. The play is packed full of recondite financial jargon, which perhaps serves to act as a deliberate barrier, always keeping us at arm’s length. Straight from the off we’re thrown into their world, and it takes a little while to become accustomed to it and work out what all the fuss is about.
We are told that this play ‘grabs you by the throat and punches you in the gut’ – this is perhaps a little strong, but there is something about the explosive shouting matches in the bleak office set that can be quite unsettling. Glengarry Glen Ross exposes the dark side of the American dream in all its naked desperation and dejection, leaving us with a pervasive amorality.
The actors pull this off exquisitely. The performance of Sam Lawson as top-dog Roma was a particularly hard-hitting show of smooth yet aggressive masculinity. With an American accent verging on perfection – true of all the cast – he was utterly believable in his role. In fact, the acting of the entire cast was impressive, striking the ideal balance between moments of comedy and pathos.
This is really the strength of this production. The actors’ comic timing was impeccable – Jack Mosedale as the adorably hopeless Aaronow had this down to a tee. His lament of ‘I came here for dinner and now I’m a criminal’ was genuinely funny, and the audience remained on his side throughout. To create comedy so effortlessly in a play which ultimately ends in a mood of dejection is quite some feat and provided a human face for an otherwise mechanical industry. They brought out many different aspects of their characters, and not once did their swearing feel gratuitous. We feel like we’re watching real men with real problems, and we can’t help but sympathise.
It’s hard to make a play about real estate set the confines of a grey-walled office bubble with life and questions, but this production has it down. Whilst it is certainly not for the easily offended (watch out for particularly un-PC humour), this play is surprisingly enjoyable, and definitely worth a watch.