Tuesday, January 18, 2011

LAND SHARKS By Beverly Creasey

You’ll never want to buy real estate again once you see David Mamet’s sardonic, bad-to-the-bone, nasty little comedy about naïve buyers and ruthless sellers. The salesmen in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (playing at the BCA through Jan. 22nd) would sell the family home right out from under their grandmother for a fat commission.

The IndepenDent Drama Society production is solidly acted and (happily, since I’ve seen three GGRs in the past year) imaginatively directed by Brett Marks. He finds amusing, new “stage business” for his actors without altering the tone or the trajectory of the script.

The ensemble masters the rhythm of the rapid give and take dialogue, making the high stakes two character scenes pop. Marks and company create suspense and believe it or not, sympathy for the old timers who can’t keep up. Phil Thompson as Shelly “The Machine” Levene lets us see the desperation beneath the swagger. Michael Fischer, as the flashy top closer, even has his softer moment, acknowledging Levene’s old school finesse.

Craig Houk brings a frenetic intensity to the scheming Moss. His “hypothetical” scene with the hapless Aaronow (Michael Pevzner) gets lots of laughs. Jeremy Browne oozes contempt as the calculating office manager and Adam Lauver gets to huff and puff as the frustrated policeman but Bob Mussett makes your heart break as the mark out of his depth and about to drown in shark-infested waters.