Review Roundup: Lohan’s Official Speed-the-Plow Debut Went Okay

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: Lindsay Lohan performs during a photocall for
Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImages/Getty

Live-theater neophyte Lindsay Lohan seemed to make (some sort of) history last week when she forgot her lines during previews of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow. Critics lambasted her — and others involved in the Lindsay Posner–helmed revival — for allowing such a travesty to occur. Naturally, Twitter and the internet erupted, and the biggest question was: How bad will the months of October and November be for theatergoers in London? Well, official reviews are in, and the answer is: It looks like people can either buy a ticket and see a pretty okay show, or they can save their money and get a jump start planning for Halloween and Christmas. No train wrecks here; in fact, many reviews were supportive. (If you were rooting for Lohan, now is a good time to do a Tiger Woods–type fist pump in her honor.) Speed-the-Plow opened to the public last night, and continues to play at Playhouse Theatre in London until November 29. Here’s what critics had to say about Lohan’s mixed West End debut (for only good ones, consult her Twitter):

“Although she seemed sometimes to be rushing the lines and failed to make the material sing, overall she demonstrated presence. However, none of that changes the fact that this is a tepid, underwhelming production in which Lohan is just one of several mediocre elements … Lindsay at least has the right comic chops to wring laughs with the better one-liners, like the comparison between the film business and love affairs (they’re both ‘full of surprises and you’re always getting f—ed’).” —Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“Shock news: Lindsay Lohan can act a bit. No, it’s not quite the attention-grabbing opening line we disaster-hungry hacks were sharpening our nibs for when we learnt that the 28-year-old star of The Parent Trap and Mean Girls — and, more recently, the star of 1,001 showbiz stories about her life of drink, drugs, sex, prison, rehab and all-round unreliability — was making her theatrical debut in this David Mamet revival.” —Dominic Maxwell, The Times of London

“It’s not even clear that notoriety necessarily puts bums on seats, though in the British it certainly foments that gloating schadenfreude that loves nothing better than to gawp at the high and mighty brought low. So bravo to Lindsay Lohan for transcending these considerations and turning in a deftly delineated characterisation.” —Paul Taylor, The Independent

“Well, the doomsayers, the mockers and those quick to bitch on Twitter can go hang. On Thursday night, Lindsay Lohan, that notably notorious American actress and the most gossiped-about celebrity invitee to London’s theatreland in ages, made her stage debut with a surprising - and smouldering – degree of style. True, she fluffed a line and needed an off-stage prompt – but given the pressure to prove herself, that’s just-about pardonable.” —Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“So how was she? The first thing to say is that Lindsay Lohan gives a perfectly creditable performance in this revival of David Mamet’s acerbic, anti-Hollywood satire. Whatever her colourful past, Lohan brings on stage a quality of breathless naivety that is far and away the most interesting thing in Lindsay Posner’s otherwise tame, under-powered revival.” —Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Last night, a decent actress clambered out of the wreckage that she has made of the past decade. While it’s premature to say a star was reborn, Lohan – save for one line that needed prompting – didn’t humiliate herself.” —Patricia Nicol, Metro

“By the closing curtain, Lohan had proved she could hold her own with two top-notch male actors.” —Michael Roddy, Reuters

“Lohan wasn’t so much ‘bad’ as she was just, well, not very good, according to one audience member, who said that she was still being fed lines from a helper backstage. … [A]fter our scathing review of her first stage appearance last week, the Daily News was denied tickets, despite there being vast lots of empty seats.” —Marianne Garvey, Brian Niemietz, and Oli Coleman, New York Daily News

“The husky-voiced, physically awkward Lohan is seriously out of her depth … A Mamet play becomes tabloid fodder thanks to the casting of LiLo (as she’s known in that arena) in a relatively small but pivotal role.” —Mark Shenton, The Stage

“She has stage presence and a voice that’s appealingly smoky even if sometimes flat. Her performance isn’t confident — but then, Karen is meant to be a nervous young woman whose naivety evaporates when she finds a cause worth advocating.” —Henry Hitchings, London Evening Standard

“Lohan does all that is required of her in personifying one of the horns of the dilemma facing Bobby: whether to opt for Charlie’s bankable but hollow action movie or Karen’s novel adaptation, which is profound but box-office and career death. Mamet doesn’t often write credible parts for women or subtly managed plot reverses, and this is no exception. But you get a lot of bang for your buck.” —Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

“Miss Lohan last night forgot her lines once. That did not really matter. Her acting is that of a not specially gifted schoolgirl. I do not blame her. At least she had a bash. At least she tried her very best. But she should never have been thus exposed. Acting on the West End is no joke.” —Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

“Lindsay’s been many things – a movie star, a singer, Paris Hilton’s wingwoman – but never a secretary. However, there are some parallels between LiLo and her character Karen. A particularly poignant moment came when Karen/ Lindsay admitted: ‘I know what it is to be bad. I’ve been bad, I know what it is to be lost.’ All that soul-baring on Oprah’s reality show has clearly paid off, she does vulnerable very well.” —Joe Stone, Grazia Daily

Speed-the-Plow Review Roundup: Lohan Seemed Okay