Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco

Glengarry Glen Ross
Shelton Theater

Also see Richard's review of Club Inferno, Eddie's reviews of Each and Every Thing, Irene, Freedomland, Arcadia and Black Virgins Are Not for Hipsters, and Patrick's review of Cymbeline


Timothy Trygg, Phil Estrin and Matt Shelton
Shelton Theater is currently presenting David Mamet's outstanding classic Glengarry Glen Ross, a play that has been seen a lot in the Bay Area this year. There have been three other productions in the North Bay and East Bay. Few current writers for the stage, TV, and movies have come close to David Mamet's superiority, quantity, and variability of work.

Mamet's characters speak in a distinctive mix of gobbledygook, chitchat, boldness, and broken emotion that reflects their stuttering heartbeat of everyday speech. Glengarry is perhaps the brightest example of recurring interchange. I would gather the f-word is used over 100 times in the production. (When the film was released some called it "the Fucking Death of a Salesman").

The title comes come the questionable parcels of real estate in Arizona and Florida that these pitiless characters sell to naïve buyers from a branch office in Chicago. The characters lie, steal, and exploit each other as much as their wretched clients.

Director Sasha Litovchenko has assembled a perfect cast of Bay Area actors to portray the cutthroat real-estate salesmen. The seven actors on stage get to perform the ensemble roles of a lifetime and each actor is first rate. Philip Estrin gives a superb performance as the down and out and determined to become top dog of the office Shelley Levene. His change from a complainer to a rowdy person is astounding to watch. Timothy Trygg gives a wonderful performance as the cold-hearted, callous office manager who won't cut Shelley a break.

Matt Shelton gives an outstanding performance as the ostentatious, overexcited, high-rolling, top salesman Richard Roma. It's a tour de force performance from this actor and he would be capable of selling a refrigerator to an Eskimo. Matt Crawford is dazzling as Moss, the low life who dreams up the idea of an office heist. Keith Sullivan gives a pitch perfect performance as the intimidated customer James Lingk. Aleksandr Litovchenko is splendid as George Aaronow, especially in the second scene of the first act listening to low-life Moss. Rounding out the all-male cast is Pat Caulfield playing a Chicago detective. It's a small role but he makes the most of it. Sasha Litovchenko's direction is sharp and fast paced.

Glengarry Glen Ross runs through August 29th, 2015, at the Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter Street, San Francisco. For tickets, go to www.sheltontheater.org.


Photo: Green Le Fleur

- Richard Connema


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