American Buffalo May 25th, ’15

london west end

What will stay with you in this play is definitely the introduction of Teach into the group of two, Donny Dubrow (the owner of a junk shop) and Bobby, his drug addict help. Because Teach (played by Damian Lewis) enters the stage cockily, and utters “Fuck” with different emphases about 20 times, thusly complaining about some happenings during a game of poker, involving a woman he fancied. It’s a David Mamet play, full of fast dialogues, funny, if the actors are on top of their game, lame, if they aren’t. I can safely say that thank god, Lewis, John Goodman as Donny and Tom Sturridge were brilliant and drove the story of deceit and greed fast paced to its end.

Donny has sold a coin, an American Buffalo, to some apparent collector for 90 Dollars, having picked the price on the penny out of thin air just because his customer looked flush. The man paid without questioning it. So Donny now thinks this coin might be worth even more and 1. wants it back.Together with his helper Bobby, young, seemingly on something all the time and not too fast a thinker. They plan to rob the customer’s flat as soon as he’s off for the weekend, something Bob has found out as he had followed the guy. And they’ll have Fletcher with them, as they need someone who knows how to open a door…

When Teach hears about this, he cunningly convinces Donny to leave Bobby out of the crime and choose him as the second man as he’s faster, smarter, and needs the money. And that they also should take the whole coin collection and not just the one they sold. Reluctantly Donny agrees.

Fletcher doesn’t show up. Bob shows up with another American Buffalo and tells them Fletcher had been in a brawl and is in hospital, but they can’t verify the story, the hospital has no clue and Teach gets angry and hits Bob with an iron crowbar.

But it turns out Bob had said the truth. Fletcher is in fact in hospital (just a different one) and Bob had bought the coin from a shop, because he had lost their customer and hadn’t been able to follow him home. So to make up for the lost coin, he bought one to make up for his failure. Bob, on the verge of dying, apologises to Donny and they leave – not to rob anyone but to bring Bob to hospital.

In typical Mamet style it’s all about what the actors make of the play, as there isn’t much going on other than constant swearing and the deep desparation to get out of this life and making a better one, no matter how. Goodman turns out to be subtle and blatant and really quite impressive, busying himself in his junk shop and not getting a grip on things till the very end. Lewis paints the sly ratty schemer you have to hate to perfection and young Sturridge is just amazing being the odd one out, not understanding why all of a sudden plans pass him by, much like a little, hectic puppy being chastised for something it didn’t do. It was great to watch and a fabulous experience. I do regret that thanks to my murderous jetlag after flying in from Portland just the day before I opted out on stagedooring. sigh. well, can’t have everything 😉

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