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REVIEW: ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ deals plenty of ugly laughter

pacinoAl120912_optAl Pacino and Bobby Cannavale star in David Mamet’s blistering comedy

BY MICHAEL SOMMERS
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
BROADWAY REVIEW

Sure, Al Pacino is the mega-name who is luring Broadway customers to “Glengarry Glen Ross” but it is likely that many of them will be talking more excitedly afterwards about Bobby Cannavale’s smoking-hot performance in the revival that arrived on Saturday after an extended preview period.

David Mamet’s wonderfully profane look at 1983 real estate agents fighting like animals over choice sales assignments remains an entertaining dark comedy in director Daniel Sullivan’s bare-knuckle production at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

Sullivan directs the play more for ugly laughs than pathos and the sets by Eugene Lee and lighting by James F. Ingalls suggest places that never see any sunshine. The chop suey joint where the guys conspire is crummy and their ransacked office looks seedy.

Anxiously ruffling his spiky hair, a disheveled Al Pacino plays the failing salesman Shelly Levene with a deeply furrowed brow and a wheedling whiskey tenor voice. Foul-mouthed Shelly opens the play, and with every little whining inflection, Pacino establishes an effectively disgruntled mood for the men who follow him into the story.glengarry120912_opt

Boasting violet socks and vivid suspenders, the play’s most colorful figure is Ricky Roma – the role that Pacino had in the movie – the swaggering salesman who gasses so confidently about life. Garbed by designer Jess Goldstein in ‘80s master-of-the-universe attire, Bobby Cannavale slickly depicts Ricky with a blinding smile, a dirty chuckle and the easy magnificence of a giant among pygmies. 

When Ricky furiously tells off his co-workers in the second act, the blazing fireworks that Cannavale launches is worthy of Macy’s. Ricky is a juicy guy and Cannavale does him splendidly.

Richard Schiff and John C. McGinley are relatively subdued but sure look shady as other office denizens. David Harbour radiates a sullen, almost sinister presence as the manager who assigns them their coveted sales leads. Jeremy Shamos cringes painfully as the customer whose wife wants him to undo a deal. Murphy Guyer is dead-on as a sour detective investigating the inside job.



 
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