Review by Emma Whitelaw
AH THE American dream; big house, well paid job, nice car, gorgeous
wife and 2.5 kids. Good wholesome domestic bliss!
Sounds almost too good to be true – perhaps it is?
The Union Theatre plays host to two short plays
by talented US writer Lydia Parker, American Dream and
Gringo. Both deal with the consequences of greed,
corporate power and the corruption of the little guy.
Gringo is an action-packed tale of an idealistic young
American businessman in Puerto Rico to assist in a corporate take-over
who finds himself trapped in a terrifying web of intrigue and
Mark Holloway plays Scott, the all-round American good guy. As
a devoted husband and loving father, he is at first extremely
apprehensive of his colleague, Jimmy’s unorthodox antics.
But after being car-jacked, seduced by a stunning local and
lured by corporate temptation, he soon becomes every bit as depraved
as his former manager.
New to London, John Haggerty absolutely stole the show as both
Jimmy in Gringo and Jack in American Dream.
He has an immense on-stage presence and had the audience in stitches
with his charismatic portrayal of the immorally decadent businessman.
American Dream is the story
of how a young Columbian teacher in New York gets mixed up an
almost cult-like pyramid scheme.
Making his London debut, Eduardo Negrete plays the hapless Paul.
A warm, generous and kind-hearted soul, Paul moved to America
to make a life for himself and found work teaching English to
those who share his dream.
He can’t believe his luck when he receives a call out of
the blue from his cheerleading high school crush, Tibby. Tibby,
played by the lovely Maureen Oakeley, has an ulterior motive,
however. She has no intention of rekindling any kind of flame;
all she is after is Paul and his students’ money.
Nancy Baldwin comes to the rescue as Martha, Paul’s co-worker
and best friend. Martha, a cousin of Tibby, warns Paul that his
perky love interest isn’t all that she seems to be. Paul
ignores the warnings and decides to find out the heartbreaking
Both American Dream and Gringo are hilarious,
light-hearted digs at globalisation and corporate corruption.
Long live the American Dream!
American Dream and Gringo written by Lydia Parker. Directed
by Christopher Klein. Starring Nancy Baldwin, John Haggerty, Mark
Holloway, Hilary Lester, Eduardo Negrete, Maureen Oakeley, Lydia
Parker, Laurence Bouvard, Leonard Fenton and Oliver Micell. March
29 to April 16 at Union Theatre, 204 Union Street, London SE1
0LX. Box office 020 7621 9876.