All right, let’s cut to the chase. Noted Hollywood fuck-up Lindsay Lohan is in a play. Even a cursory Google reveals that the world’s gossip press had collectively declared her West End debut a car crash before she’d even stepped on the stage. But the truth is – she’s absolutely fine. Decent, even. Solid.
She brings a surprising, slightly weird intensity to the role of Karen, the only female character in David Mamet’s 1988 Hollywood satire ‘Speed-the-Plow’. Temporary secretary to Richard Schiff’s big-shot Hollywood producer Bobby, Karen falls for a preposterously worthy film script about nuclear war that her boss only tossed her way because he wants to sleep with her. And Lohan’s Karen sets about evangelising about it with a fervour that’s part wining naivety, part creepy LA desperation.
It’s not an extraordinary performance – on press night she had to be prompted on a line – but certainly a reminder that the ‘Mean Girls’ star can act. I’d imagine that, if she can keep turning up on time, she’ll get whatever she was hoping for out of doing a play.
However, the quality of her performance is perhaps a side issue to the real question: is Lindsay Posner’s revival any good or not?
Schiff and Nigel Lindsay’s Charlie bring a pleasingly energetic snap, crackle and pop to Mamet’s dialogue, as a pair of money-grubbing old Hollywood bastards who won’t let the other finish a sentence. But by the time the final act comes round, with Bobby wracked by Karen-induced paroxysms of conscience, the whole thing had rather lost me. Partly, it’s due to Posner killing the galloping momentum of a short play by including an interval. Mostly, I think, it’s because ‘Speed-the-Plow’ is pretty clunky, its intriguing dialogue tied to a rudimentary dramatic structure.
It’s entertaining and nobody named Lindsay (or Richard) embarrasses themselves. But after all the build-up, the reality is fairly underwhelming.