Bros on Broadway: A Bro Reviews the Bro-iest Play Ever, Glengarry Glen Ross
Does our bro want to roll with Al Pacino and his boys in David Mamet's famously foul-mouthed drama?
[Warning: Glengarry Glen Ross uses the f-word over 100 times in 90 minutes. This review will not compete with that, but it does include explicit language.]
Bros on Broadway has taken on classical french romance, the iconic dramatics of Edward Albee, and contemporary sex farces. This week, the bros get up close and personal with foul-mouthed playwright David Mamet.
TheaterMania welcomes our newest bro, Ramon (aka Ray), a proud TKE fraternity brother, varsity letterman and close quarters combat technician who has a Guggenheim Museum membership. He saw the film adaptation of the play once in school.
BRO: Ramon Lopez II
Occupation: Visual Merchandiser
Bro Credibility: Ray trains religiously in Krav Maga and Mixed Martial Arts. Picks Deadspin.com over The New York Times 100% of the time.
Fun Fact: Ray once rescued a woman from being mugged in New York Penn Station by suplexing her attacker. Multiple witnesses have corroborated that this is true.
Show Reviewed: Glengarry Glen Ross
First of all, I've read the other "bro reviews" and all the comments about them, and want to say I think there's a misconception about what a "bro" can be.
Being a bro doesn't mean you're stupid, and you don't have to sound like a Rhodes Scholar to be smart. A bro can be cultured. A friend of mine once tried to pay a cabbie with Kraft Singles because he was blind drunk. (Kraft Singles as in the cheese. Because he was blacked out and thinking cheddar. I can't make this up.) This same kid can recite the entirety of Shakespeare's Richard III. I know, I had to spot him for an audition. Having Shakespeare on lock doesn't make him less of a bro. He is a bro. Bro is a state a mind. Me, I consider myself a Renaissance Bro. I saw the Glengarry Glen Ross movie. To bro or not to bro? Whatever, Alec Baldwin is the truth.
Anyway, Glengarry Glen Ross: Five s***-talking, scumbag real estate brokers--including John C. McGinley [Dave Moss], who delivers the absolute best "f*** you" I've ever heard--do the best they can to take money and dignity away from each other and their clients. Bad hair, bad suits and bad language aplenty. A one-star Chinese restaurant and a run down s***hole office act as backdrops while these royal a-holes to verbally spar with one another during their no-holds-barred climb to the top of the sales board.
Full disclosure: I'm a huge Al Pacino fan, and of him in this show. His [Shelly Levene] is not Scarface. He's a guy with ticks and insecurities who doesn't know when to hang up the gloves, and when the knockout punch comes it breaks your heart. And the whole show works because every guy up there has the chops to match Pacino.
I know people go in to see Pacino, but I bet they leave remembering Bobby Cannavale--and he's doing his thing right now, because when you start Googling him, his name jumps up before you finish typing it. I knew him from that wrestling movie Win Win with Paul Giamatti, where he plays THE ULTIMATE BRO (Netflix it, it's awesome) as a bitter divorcee who weasels his way into an assistant coaching job. Here, he plays the slickest shark, Ricky Roma, who is a glimpse into the reason the stock market crashed in 2008. He's a true wheeler-and-dealer who's having the time of his life doing what he does.
I kind of hope Bobby Cannavale is just playing himself, because I want to believe he's that cool.
And watching his hairdo come apart is f***ing amazing.
The play is basically a five-man pissing contest. For example, Williamson [David Harbour] is made to look like the office bitch. Everyone gives him heat, and Ricky Roma calls him "you f***ing child." (Epic burn.) But in truth, Williamson has them by the balls--they need him to make sales. He even tells Pacino, "I just don't like you," then holds him over the coals for a lousy $70 bucks. So Williamson has power--he's the antagonist (S.A.T. word, baby!) in a room full of bad guys. And there is no good guy, really. They all say they are "good men," or things like "you're a good man," but impress each other by screwing people over.
The only good guy is the one who eventually says he hates his job, because at least he's over it.
I know Pacino and Cannavale are the big men in this show, but when I say the cast has chops I'm also talking about Jeremy Shamos [James Lingk], who literally looks like he's coming in from the rain in one scene where he has to make the un-manliest call ever. He is pitiful in a room full of giants, which ain't easy. And Richard Schiff's [George Aaronow] freak-out over a cop treating him like s*** is legendary. That meltdown is so legit. I have to think my man is offstage getting himself good and worked up so he can come out and start throwing crap like that for real.
I heard people saying 90 minutes at $300 a ticket for Glengarry Glen Ross is crazy. And it is expensive, there's no getting around that. But you do have to think of quality. It costs more to see the Yankees play than the Brewers, you know? You could also pay $300 to see a two-hour [plus] piece of [expletive deleted] like Spider-Man. How do you want to spend your $300, really? I'd ask what Ricky Roma would do, but he'd just take his money, buy an 8-ball of blow, do it all, go to that crappy Chinese restaurant, order a lot of food, and then not eat any of it.
Bottom line, I would recommend this show--it's funny and brutal. That said, if you don't like David Mamet, this won't change your mind. But if you don't like David Mamet, you shouldn't be buying tickets to Glengarry Glen Ross, "you f***ing child."