Photo: Courtesy Playhouse Theatre.
"I know what it is to be bad," Lindsay Lohan's Karen tells Richard Schiff in the second act of Speed the Plow. "I've been bad."
Cue giant guffaw from the audience, intent on seeing whether the actress will make it or break it on the opening night of her West End debut. I was there for the same reason, along with a crowd that skewed much younger than the other London plays I've attended. "Gays and gals," a gay couple, both of whom were musical theater grads, confirmed during the interval. "Everyone is here to see Lindsay."
That was clear by the second the curtains rose, when, for the first time ever, I witnessed a London theater audience shout "woo-hoo!" A couple of girls were seen hightailing it during the interval, snapping that this wasn't Mean Girls. No, it's David Mamet, king of crisp, clever, (and biting) dialogue. I'd love to see him get drinks with Regina George, but anyone expecting traditional Lohan fare is barking up the wrong tree.
The big question, of course, is how did Lohan do? Plenty have taken to Twitter to blast the redheaded star for flubbing her lines and causing the disappointed audience to leave in a huff. I didn't see that. There were some awkward silences in which both Lohan and Schiff needed prompts, but from my seat it didn't seem like a disaster. Lohan, who transforms from a naive office worker to a new age-y seductive muse to an ambitious D girl over the course of the play, has been accused of resorting to reading her lines straight from a book. That's not quite fair, given that all three of the play's stars read from the same book, which is a central figure in the play.
We all wanted to see Lohan either crash and burn, or cement her comeback in three acts. She did neither. I expected the worst, and came away feeling that Lohan showed promise. It can't be easy performing for the first time in front of an audience who literally howled in laughter at a reference to "being bad," but she plowed through.
And, you know what? Good for her.
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