RACE. David Mamet. Hampstead Theatre.

‘Race’, of course, does not exist.  It is a social construct invented by white European society to place itself at the top of an imagined hierarchy.

David Mamet’s explosive script hit Broadway in 2009.  Bravo to Ed Hall at Hampstead for getting the UK premiere.

The play is a naturalistic court-room style drama which puts modern America’s conflicting attitudes to ‘race’ on trial.

The play is set in a lawyer’s office where there are three attorneys: a black man, a white man and a black woman.  The drama circles around the prosecution of a wealthy white businessman accused of raping a black woman who may or may not be a prostitute.

Mamet’s script is an acerbic, fast and often funny exploration of racism, sexism and the politically correct.  (If there were echoes of Dominique Strausss-Kahn’s New York experience then the coincidence only made the play more relevant.)

This is an 85 minute high-tension evening with brilliant performances by Jasper Britton, Charles Daish, Clarke Peters and Nina Toussaint-White.  Terry Johnson’s production is tight and high-volume.  It left the audience arguing with one another.  A writer cannot ask for more.

Julia Pascal © 2013.