The Almeida staged the world premiere of Richard Bean’s stage adaptation of David Mamet’s 1987 film. We were there to experience the con.
Based on the Screenplay by David Mamet, House of Games follows the twists and turns of the con.
We follow the unravelling of psychotherapist and academic, Margret, as she is seduced by the underworld, filled with card-sharks and hustlers.
I really wanted to like this play.
I love the film and I’m a fan of Mamet (especially Oleana and Glengarry Glen Ross); the film version has a low budget, noir quality that perfectly matches the sense of time and location.
But, this really is a play of its time. Through films like Grifters and TV like The Hustle, we all know the lexicon; we all understand the long-con, the tell and the mark.
The set was great, the actors were good, the script is wonderful but it felt out of time. It wasn’t raw or dark enough to be threatening and it wasn’t fast-paced or slick enough to compete with other media.