Pinch ‘N’ Ouch charms with Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow

Showbiz satire gets a lively staging at Druid Hills Baptist Church

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  • Drake Simons
  • PEFORMATIVE INFLUENCE: Jayson Warner Smith as Bobby Gould and Rob Mello as Charles Fox in Speed-the-Plow

“Your name will be a punchline in this town!” one movie producer barks at another in Speed-the-Plow, David Mamet’s portrayal of Hollywood’s dog-eat-dog behavior. Mamet’s stylish, staccato dialogue perfectly suits the swaggering hyperbole of film industry dealmakers and lunch-takers.

So many other plays, films and TV shows have relished Tinseltown talk while satirizing showbiz morality that Speed-the-Plow can get lost among the likes of Sunset Boulevard and The Player. Nevertheless, Pinch ‘N’ Ouch Theatre offers a lively and engrossing production of Speed-the-Plow in its new performance space at the Druid Hills Baptist Church.

Speed-the-Plow presents a dilemma to newly promoted studio head Bobby Gould (Jayson Smith): Should Bobby green light a surefire hit prison/buddy film with an A-list actor, or adapt a dreary-sounding novel about radiation, the end of the world, and other high-brow themes?

As a business decision, it’s a no-brainer, but Gould’s personal relationships make it more complicated. The prison movie would make the career of Charles Fox (Robert Mello), Bobby’s loyal, long-suffering colleague. Bobby’s temp Karen (Jackie Costello), a Hollywood newcomer, champions the radiation movie as a chance to deliver a profound, positive message. Would Bobby rather be a good friend or a good man? Would he rather make money or good movies?