Rockwell and Fishburne fight on Broadway

For such a small piece, “American Buffalo” feels huge.

David Mamet’s 1975 carnivorous drama, whose pass-the-popcorn revival premiered Thursday night on Broadway, is set in a nondescript basement pawn shop in Chicago that gets no customers other than the three characters throughout the show.

This angry trio is obsessed with weighty and obvious issues like the president or social injustice, rent or love – all they care about is a buffalo nickel, which may or may not be worth $90.

theater criticism

1 hour and 40 minutes with a break. At the Circle in the Square Theater, 235 W. 50th St. Through July 10.

The boys keep chatting about the coin, pausing occasionally to comment on coffee (they scold Java while telling someone to get it) and their seedy acquaintances’ habit of cheating at cards.

The ultimate goal of these considerations? To steal back the nickel from the man to whom it was sold at too low a price.

Not exactly earth shattering stuff. But Mamet’s 47-year-old play hits harder than today’s many complacently staged newspaper op-eds. Most Americans continue to inhabit suffocating spaces, glued to their jobs, and will do anything for a quick buck. Now more than ever. We may not all buy and sell used lampshades, but American Buffalo feels like it’s about us.

The other reason Mamet’s early-career show has been revived so many times is that the play is a hot-dog-eating contest for actors — gluttonous, fast-paced, and oddly mesmerizing.

Sam Rockwell, Darren Criss and Laurence Fishburne are three fast-talking henchmen from Chicago.
Sam Rockwell, Darren Criss and Laurence Fishburne are three fast-talking henchmen from Chicago.
Richard dates

This time, Laurence Fishburne as Donny, the pawn shop owner, are at each other’s throats; Sam Rockwell as Teach, his red-hot associate; and Darren Criss as Bobby, a naïve young meathead who wants to be like them both. Worst Mentors Ever!

Shockingly, Rockwell has only worked with Mamet once before, on the 2001 film Heist, which the playwright wrote and directed. That’s weird because Rockwell is a person who could invent Mamet. The author’s talk-before-you-think style comes naturally to the actor, who lumbers leisurely through Scott Pask’s Hamster Paradise set as if it were a place he’s been tossing peanut shells on the floor for decades. You can’t take your eyes off him.

Bobby (Criss) and looked after by Donny (Fishburne).
Bobby (Criss) is looked after by Donny (Fishburne).
Richard dates

Rockwell and Fishburne nail the buddy cop dynamic of these spikey bits. Donny is the cool go-between (who also often says “f–k”) and Teach is an angry, suspicious bully whose temper is certainly enhanced by his skin-tight plaid pants. Fishburne’s poised performance reminds me of the best kind of bartender – a sweetheart when he’s taking your drink order and a tough guy when he’s dragging a drunk to the curb by his collar.

And although Criss has the least rewarding role of the three, his empty-headed boy is a funny 180 of his fiendish characters in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story or on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. .” Bobby certainly doesn’t have Hedwig’s wit, and the actor shows just how versatile he is.

Her dance of “f – – k” and “c – – t” and hurled objects (the first row is practically a splash zone) is muscularly choreographed by director Neil Pepe. He understands Mamet well and knows that “American Buffalo” is just three schlubs shooting at the – – t… and maybe at each other.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/14/american-buffalo-review-rockwell-and-fishburne-battle-on-broadway/ Rockwell and Fishburne fight on Broadway

Dais Johnston

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