The arrival of the talkies changed the movie world forever – and in Moss Hart and George S Kaufman’s 1930 satire (adapted by Christopher Hart), smalltime vaudevillian Jerry isn’t slow to try and take advantage of what looks like a golden opportunity.
It doesn’t take much for him to persuade the rest of the act – Claudie Blakley’s practical, sardonic May and straight man George – to sell up and use the last of their cash to board a train heading for the glamour of Hollywood where the stars of the silent screen are in dire need of elocution lessons.
credit: Johan Persson
What follows is a mildly diverting critique of a crazy world where scriptwriters (including Daniel Abelson’s exasperated Laurence) are lured away from New York only to languish for months with nothing to do, and movie moguls are as elusive as gods.
Director Richard Jones doesn’t seem to entirely trust the material, adding extended physical business for the usually scene-stealing Amanda Lawrence (as a forgetful receptionist) which isn’t always particularly funny, and eliciting mixed performances which don’t completely gel.
That said, John Marquez is rather endearing as slow-witted, literal minded George, who hasn’t a single original thought of his own but somehow ends up as the studio supervisor. And a shuffling Harry Enfield makes a creditable theatrical debut (at the ripe old age of 55) as head honcho Glogauer who not only promotes him but also gets the best line, reminding his underlings that “That’s the way we do things here, no time wasted on thinking”
Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
0207 922 2922
Tube: Southwark / Waterloo
Until 14th January
£10.00 – £35.00