Jun 20th, 2019
Whilst John Malkovich's talent cannot be understated, one wonders if his common sense is as he stars in this grim indictment of a perverted studio boss left reeling after his proclivities are finally uncovered.
With classic Mamet-ian flair, the story of Barney Fien begins with two men swearing at each other in an office, before slowly (agonizingly slowly) unraveling a portrait of an unpredictable tyrant obsessed with his weight. Soon though, self-aggrandisement moves on to molestation of a young up and coming actress - before devolving into chaos that involves a man with a gun and a roughshod attempt to add a layer of humanity to a horrible character.
Mamet is trying something - something along the lines of 'in your face' theatre, a sentiment shared by his leading man who believes 'upsetting people is the point of theatre', it's a fair point - but the fact remains that this is still a play about Harvey Weinstein and not a play about his accusers. It's about how HE feels and about how HE is affected. It's well acted for sure and Malkovich's star power radiates, but it's still overwhelmingly a bad taste, misogynistic work that reads as a tone-deaf cash grab with added knob jokes.
Just because its real-life subject has gone quiet, it doesn't mean that the people affected are not still reeling from his audacity. It's just simply not the time for evaluation yet - especially not one as hamfisted as this.
View our show pages for more information about Bitter Wheat, Garrick Theatre.
Sound good to you? Share this page on social media and let your friends know about it.
I want email news and updates for events in my area! Read how we protect your data.