By now, most of us have heard about David Mamet’s controversy. The once left wing, Pulitzer prize winning playwright made comments earlier this month on Fox TV defending Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and has now aligned himself with many right wing ideas.
The headline overpowered news of his recent Broadway revival, American Buffalo. Yet no matter your views of the scribe or his works, it’s hard to disagree that this is one incredibly well-acted production.
Director Neil Pepe leads the story of three dim-witted hustlers, Donny (Laurence Fishburne), Teach (Sam Rockwell), and Bobby (Darren Criss), trying to reclaim an undervalued buffalo nickel by staging a robbery.
Mamet’s signature staccato dialogue is fully on display here and Rockwell is especially great as the short-tempered Teach. He’s got the best material. Fishburne and Criss are also exceptional as they deliver rapid-fire barbs at one another.
Scott Pask has constructed a visually overwhelming pawn shop of a set which looks and feels like an authentic, old-school Chicago establishment.
American Buffalo originally premiered in 1975 and was later turned into a 1986 film starring Dennis Franz and Dustin Hoffman. Critics and scholars have viewed it as a commentary on tested loyalties, greed and the dissolution of the American dream. On that account, nothing has changed in 47 years. At the same time, there is little else revealed in this 90 minute escapade (which oddly, includes one intermission).
American Buffalo continues on Broadway at Circle in the Square (235 W. 50th between 8th/9th, NYC) through July 10th. For tickets and information, click here.