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American Dream or mere pyramid scheme??



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 violence.

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 hard way.

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.

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