David Mamet's new play The Anarchist opened at the Golden Theatre in New York City on Sunday (December 2, 2012), though the majority of critics panned the show that tells the story of two actresses playing a verbal game of cat-and-mouse.
Patti LuPone plays Cathy, a middle-aged prison inmate who got an indeterminate sentence behind bars after a deadly armored truck robbery. After 35 years in prison and a conversion to Christianity, Cathy begins to plead for clemency with the warden Ann, played by Debra Winger. The Associated Press' drama critic Mark Kennedy opened his scathing review with, "David Mamet's new play "The Anarchist" contains - shock! - not a single swear word. But some are certain to be used by theatregoers walking out after the show." Echoing the New York Times' devastating review of Guy Fieri's new restaurant, Kennedy picks apart the play piece-by-piece, saying, "Running an intermissionless 70 minutes, "The Anarchist" starts in second gear and never really speeds up or slows down, just becomes wave after wave of staccato dialogue that is more pleasant on the page than spoken." Kennedy delivers the killer blow in his final couple of lines, writing, "It fails to connect to the heart or the mind. But at least it's mercifully short. No sooner have you arrived at the theater than you are back in the street, puffing in the cold air - and maybe sending out an expletive, too."
Mamet - a revered playwright and essayist - is the winner of a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for the classic Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) and Speed-the-Plow (1988). As a screenwriter, he received Oscar nominations for The Verdict (1982) and Wag the Dog (1997).