David Mamet: Bitter Wheat, Garrick Theatre, London (Director: David Mamet)
By Sascha Krieger
Dvid Mamet is not only one of the world’s most popular and successful playwrights – as a prolific screenwriter with two Oscar nominations under his belt, he also possesses expert knowledge of the workings of the film industry. A play based on the #MeToo movement’s pivotal moment of the scandal involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein therefore carries with it an expectancy of exclusive insights and the sharp direct tone Mamet has become synonymous with. But there is also doubt, as Mamet’s own gender depictions have traditionally received some criticism. The world premiere of his latest play Bitter Wheat, directed by Mamet himself, meets – at least partly – all these expectations. His Weinstein is called Barney Fein, a vulgar, expletive-happy, larger than life brute, manipulative, persuasive, openly abusive. John Malkovich, that most physical of Hollywood actors, that expert in cynicism and leering threat, is his perfect embodiment. His heavy body does not inhabit the stage, it usurps it, conquers it, holds it hostage.