Glen Garry Glen Ross is about success, greed and manipulation. How you make people feel when you talk to them, whether they’re on your side or if you’re on theirs, whether you can manipulate them or save them. If you’ve got the gift of the gab then you can do anything and be anyone; you will be successful.
With a play so heavy with dialogue, on stage presence and charisma is paramount. The opening scene between Will O’Mahony and Peter Rowsthorn was captivating. You felt the boredom and almost repulsion from Will and the awful desperation from Peter. I was immediately torn between my distrust and annoyance with Peter and my want to help him. Will’s ability to convey his stoniness during their conversation and then add a level of manipulation, which he happily threw into the ring, made him engaging and an excellent villain to start off the performance. The addition of human idiosyncrasies that his movements showed us made him a hateable but relatable character.
I take my hat off to Steve Turner. I felt for him, and I fell for the charm of Damian Walshe-Howling’s performance even from my seat. Turner, along with Kenneth Ransom, whom both have featured in Black Swan products previously, gave really honest performances. You felt the fragility of Turner, his want to believe in the good of people. Ransom commands the stage, which was a perfect juxtaposition when presented with Turner and Luke Hewitt. Peter Rowsthorn was a show stopper. His voice, his desperation, his body language and his whole persona demanded your attention and made you want to give it.
The show is funny, really funny. The timing, the little looks and the dialogue all work really well together. The performance is directed by Kate Cherry, Black Swan’s Artistic Director and you can see her leadership really coming through. The performance was tight and little details, such as costumes being used to demonstrate character parallels, gave it a clean edge. The three-part set echoed the theme of life changing on you without warning and the bleak office versus the plush restaurant was the last tick in the box to show how desperate these people had become and what they were striving for.
Glen Garry Glen Ross is showing at the Heath Ledger State Theatre until June 14th.
Cast includes Luke Hewitt, Ben Mortley, Will O’Mahony, Kenneth Ransom, Peter Rowsthorn, Steve Turner and Damian Walshe-Howling.
Director: Kate Cherry; Set & Costume Designer: Richard Roberts; Associate Designer: Patrick Howe; Lighting Designer: Jon Buswell; Sound Design/Composer: Ben Collins.
Bookings at Ticketek Ph 1300 795 012 in person at venue box office or Ticketek agencies/ ticketek.com.au
Photo credit: Gary Marsh Photography