Julia Jones reviews The Parent Trap star’s West End debut, ★★★½☆

Lindsay Lohan is in a West End play.

Yes, you read that correctly—everyone’s favorite Hollywood screw-up is now an actor in the theatre. To be frank, Lohan was my only real incentive to see David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow. I’m not a massive theatre-goer (slightly undermining my own credibility here), but when presented with the opportunity to see a favorite childhood star perform live, I simply couldn’t refuse.

Speed-the-Plow is a three-act, three-person Hollywood satire. Richard Schiff and Nigel Lindsay portray Hollywood businessmen Bobbie Gould and Charlie Fox, while Lohan plays Karen, Gould’s temporary (emphasis on “temporary”) secretary.

In the first act, old colleagues Gould and Fox are sat in Gould’s office discussing a script they plan to present to a major production company. Gould offhandedly mentions a book that he has been asked to “courtesy read” when Karen steps into the room. The trio then begin to debate the movie industry. Upon Karen’s departure, Fox and Gould place a $500 bet that Gould can succeed in sleeping with his new secretary.

Exit Fox, enter Karen. She and Gould converse about the courtesy read book. When Karen questions its hopelessness, her boss instructs her to read it and visit his home later that night to discuss its contents. I’m sure you can guess who wins the $500 bet in the end.

Unsurprisingly, the media has rooted against Lohan in her latest endeavor. Despite the negativity, her performance is rock solid. She is zealous in her deliverance of Karen: there is no forgetting of lines, and not once does she sound monotonous. Lohan is truly talented, and it’s nice to see her prove that she hasn’t lost any of what rocketed her to stardom as a twelve year old. Nigel Lindsay puts on a foolproof American accent (I actually thought he was from the States until researching for this article), and is full chutzpah.

Schiff’s performance, on the other hand, was just as surprising as Lohan’s—but not in a good way. For an Emmy-winning actor, he falls completely flat, appearing dispassionate and in some moments almost bored.

The production could have benefited from using the other actors as part of their promotional material. We all judge books by their covers, and Lohan hasn’t screamed “quality actress” in several years. I understand why the general public might see an advertisement for Speed-the-Plow and choose something different to watch.

However, I truly enjoyed Speed-the-Plow. With a short runtime and a small, intimate cast, it succeeded in being funny and engaging. Arguably the most enjoyable part of the play is seeing Lohan revert to her old self.

Screw the press. Speed-the-Plow is well worth a watch.

Speed-the-Plow is on until the 29th of November at the Playhouse theatre, London, for more information go to their website (https://www.playhousetheatrelondon.com/speed-the-plow/)

Featured image credit: Playhouse Theatre

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