Thursday, February 22, 2007

American Buffalo

Currently running at the Gate, this is a beautifully designed and excellently acted production of a slightly bewildering David Mamet play. Slightly bewildering in that, unlike other David Mamet plays, you're kind of not really sure what exactly has happened by the end of it, but you know it's something really bad. Or maybe nothing at all has happened and you kind of imagined the whole thing like when you look at something out of the corner of your eye and it looks weird and out of place, but then when you look back it's completely normal again and nothing has changed.

The play concerns Don, played to perfection by Sean McGinley, who runs a shop that sells, you know, stuff. Bits and bobs. Whatever he can get his hands on. He just kind of opens his door and lets things collect inside on the shelves, and they do. People also collect inside on the shelves, and Don gives house room not only to Bob, the slacker idiot man-child guy, played by Domhnall Gleeson (who steals the show right out from under the other two, doing a great impersonation of a very laid-back David Thewlis) but also to Teach, the twitchy, angry, well, David Mamet character, played by Aidan Gillen. Between the three of them they plan to do a thing to or with a guy, concerning a coin. The coin may or may not have been stolen and may or may not be stolen again. There's no way to really tell. Okay, I'll confess that maybe there is some way to tell, but when you're just trying very hard not to cough and that's all you're concentrating on, it can be easy to miss things.

I remember seeing the film of this some years ago and thinking it was very boring. The play, however, is excellent. The three actors play off each other so well, and the whole thing is fast-paced and funny, as well as completely bewildering. I recommend it, if you like Mamet already. If you don't, this isn't going to help you any. But things are... what they are.

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