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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Glengarry Glen Ross

Also see Susan's reviews of Hughie and Spring Awakening


Alexander Strain and Rick Foucheux
Almost 30 years have passed since the premiere of Glengarry Glen Ross, but David Mamet's impassioned look at real-estate salesmen fueled by desperation is as vivid as ever. Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, and director Mitchell Hébert have brought together a group of fine individual actors who create lightning when they work off each other as an ensemble.

The setting is 1984 Chicago, but Glengarry Glen Ross is still sharply relevant in an era of burst housing bubbles and a slipping economy. The anger and fear that drive Mamet's salesmen to unethical means (and hilarious yet lyrical streams of profanity) are, if anything, more pronounced in today's business climate than they were in the high-flying 1980s.

As Shelly (The Machine) Levene, once the top salesman in the office but lately on the skids, Rick Foucheux is touching and genuine; he lets the audience see the person inside the various characters he puts on. He's determined not to give up: as he battles the office manager (KenYatta Rogers) for a crack at the best leads, he rages, he wheedles, and he tries to manipulate the other man's emotions.

Alexander Strain, as the hotshot salesman Richard Roma, brings an ingenuousness to a role often played as a shark in a sleek suit. He's boyish and seemingly guileless as he seduces a nerdy fellow (Jesse Terrill, all wide eyes and anxious gestures) into signing a contract. Conrad Feininger is all aggrieved dignity as George Aaronow, faced with an illegal business opportunity offered by Dave Moss (Jeff Allin in sunglasses and smarmy mustache).

Hébert has decided to present the play without an intermission, which keeps the tension high and makes the performance fly past in less than 90 minutes. James Kronzer has designed yet another amazing set, which earns its own applause as it pulls apart booths in a Chinese restaurant and reassembles itself as a gritty real estate office with grim cinderblock walls and heavy doors. Round House Theatre
Glengarry Glen Ross
February 6th - March 3rd
By David Mamet
Shelly Levene: Rick Foucheux
John Williamson: KenYatta Rogers
Dave Moss: Jeff Allin
George Aaronow: Conrad Feininger
Richard Roma: Alexander Strain
James Lingk: Jesse Terrill
Baylen: Stephen Patrick Martin
Directed by Mitchell Hébert
4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-644-1100 or www.roundhousetheatre.org


Photo: Danisha Crosby


-- Susan Berlin


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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