Dramaworks revives Mamet play ‘American Buffalo’

Review

Dramaworks revives Mamet play ‘American Buffalo’

Feb 22 2010
Hap Erstein | Palm Beach Post

A season ago on Broadway, a badly miscast production of David Mamet's American Buffalo cast doubt on the theatrical viability of this 1977 low-rent, high-profanity heist play. But now comes Palm Beach Dramaworks, which usually traffics in neglected classics rather than those with tarnished reputations, to show that this verbal sparring match still has plenty of punch... ...With American Buffalo, Mamet established the foul-mouthed, fragmentary, elliptical street poetry that would be his signature style. It can sound artificial, but coming from an accomplished trio of performers under William Hayes's nimble direction, the language comes off as natural. Every repetitive, misused word of it... ...There are those that insist that American Buffalo -- like Mamet's later Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow -- is an indictment of our ethics-challenged business world. Perhaps, but the play works simply on the strength of it character-rich, ping-ponging dialogue, with no metaphorical leaps necessary... ...it is hard to miss that it is the work of a first-class storyteller and that is reason enough to see it. The verdict: (A-) A well-performed, profanity-heavy yarn about Chicago low lifes scheming to pull off a coin collection heist