John Malkovich plays a Donald Trump/Harvey Weinstein hybrid in Bitter Wheat, a new play written and directed by David Mamet on at London’s Garrick Theatre until 1st September.
This story of a bigshot Hollywood producer’s well-deserved downfall revolves around a powerhouse performance from Malkovich. Repulsive and hilarious in equal parts, his idiosyncratic intonation gives Mamet’s dark wit an almost Walkenesque cadence.
The laughter never stops despite the close-to-the-bone subject matter, spiralling from headline-ripped realism into Network-style satire. This timeliness is arguably the play’s weakest factor in the long run, but right now it hits home like a harassment scandal is wont to do.
Sensationally acted and brilliantly staged, Bitter Wheat is a pointed portrayal of systematic abuse, narcisstic self-pity and liberal hypocrisy that suggests there are plenty of people in positions like Harvey’s who are at it like rabbits.