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Anyone who has lost their father will probably be dabbing away tears before the end.
Mr Grammer plays Edward (the father), a retired salesman from Alabama. His son Will (Matthew Seadon-Young) feels this is largely an act.
The good salesman (I was not one) knows how to read a potential client.
Sales ace Ricky flatters, lies, assumes an intimacy and says to his target: ‘I wanna tell you something.’ Children, never trust a man who says: ‘I wanna tell you something.’If the play’s first half is a little static, the second is a cracker.
Mamet’s bitingly funny, rapid-fire, overlapping dialogue – which often seems to say nothing but in which meaning lurks, coiled and sharp as barbed wire – can take some tuning in to.
Parts of the first half, under Sam Yates’s direction, haven’t quite got there; the rhythms don’t sound real.
Despite a few technical shortcomings this is an uplifting little show, which suggests that death need not be entirely bleak.
Still, there’s no smack of cynicism in the name above the lights for this revival: Christian Slater is simply superb as Roma, the slickest of salesmen in a hyper-macho estate-agent office in Chicago.
That was probably what Chicago real estate was like in the Eighties. Without having seen it up close, he could not have nailed so expertly the peculiar cocktail of artifice and anxiety, the borderline madness, of salesmanship as it was then, and probably ever will be.
Levene pleads with Williamson (Kris Marshall) for better sales leads. The second half is set in the office — a convincingly messy dump — and makes for quicker-fire entertainment as the sales machismo crackles and pops. Mr Mamet catches well the unpredictability of the sales world, where one success can re-set your fortune after a run of failures.
We are shown selling almost as a precarious vocation, an art form.
It’s a role Al Pacino made his own in the Nineties film version of this 1983 play, but Slater has the sufficient sliver-tongued slipperiness.
Roma is an amoral monster, out only to make money, with a knack for selling people dreams they can’t possibly afford, and which are almost certainly not what they seem.