Manuel Betancourt

Speed the Plow, or How Raul knocks it out of the park!

December 16, 2008 · in Broadway

Speed the Plow
Written by David Mamet
Directed by Neil Pepe
Starring: Jeremy Piven, Raúl Esparza & Elisabeth Moss

For someone as interested in the world of Hollywood (the world that constantly gives me movies like Beverly Hills Chihuahua and personalities like Adam Sandler) Speed the Plow is a hysterical wit-filled ride as it follows Bobby Gould (a film producer in Tinseltown) being the center of a didactic play about the age-old question of the blockbuster vs the artsy film. Okay, so maybe it’s not age old, but it sure as well comes up in conversations around me more often than not.
In any case, Speed the Plow is less about this conversation and more about its performers: Jeremy Piven – playing an albeit less annoying version of Ari Gold – is adequate as the conflicted Gould; Elisabeth Moss – playing the flirty and oddly naive Karen, works with the (albeit under-written) part she’s got. But the show is entirely owned by Mr Esparza who plays Charlie Fox with such bravado you forget at the end that you are cheering on (or was that just me?) for the total annihilation of the promise of quality over the promise of big bucks. He is brass, loud and in-your-face in a way that makes Fox’s tantrums less child-like and more sinister, pleading but also manipulative. He plays all the cards he has, not because he needs to (and he does) but because he thrives playing this Big Boys Game and won’t let a girl, let alone one like Karen take the toys away. And that last scene alone, with the full blown confrontation is worth the price of admission. This is verbal sparring (and script throwing) at its best.  A