David Mamet’s brilliant play for two actors is a treat for all thespians and theatregoers. It charts the relationship and rivalry between the old pro, Robert, and the young aspiring actor, John. Whether sharing a dressing-room in a repertory theatre, performing in a variety of productions, enduring fast changes in claustrophobic closets or working out in the gym, Robert and John are locked together in a relationship which becomes increasingly competitive.
The world-weary Robert begins to sense that his automatic monopoly of ‘centre stage’ is being challenged and, too late, he realises that John’s talents and ability will far outstrip his own. As the power struggle between the two men intensifies, there are hilarious and poignant consequences both on and off stage.
Mamet’s knowledge of backstage life and actors’ temperaments makes for sublime dialogue and action. Those familiar with Next Stage’s work at The Mission Theatre will not be surprised to learn that every part of the building is put to creative use, establishing both the on and offstage worlds inhabited by actors. In this production John is played by Tom Ash-Miles, and Ian Burton, making his debut with Next Stage, plays Robert. A delightful show to start Next Stage’s autumn programme, this is one not to be missed.