By: Sandi Durell




Nothing like watching a great method actor like Al Pacino on stage, even if the meat of the matter doesn’t quite live up to expectations. David Mamet’s Doll has Pacino pacing like a caged animal, as Mickey Ross, the ultra wealthy and powerful, up from the slums, earthy rich man who seems ready to grab anyone within his grasp for the sake of the game.


De Plane, De Plane . . . yes, a $60 million dollar private jet which Ross was in the process of buying for his trophy girlfriend, via the Swiss, seems to have lost control when some lowly bureaucrat changed his registration tag from Swiss to American. And what could that mean? Well just another $5 million in taxes because it had to inadvertently touch down on American soil on its way to Canada.


The problem is that for 2 hours, with intermission, you’re sure this should be a much edited down one act and since Pacino spends 99% of his time talking on his cell phone to a variety of others, including his lawyer, the CEO of the company who made the plane and his girlfriend, it could also fly solo as a monologue.


But that would leave out the role of his gopher-assistant, the meek but mighty Christopher Denham, who does a great job as Carson answering and making phone calls at the behest of Mickey and muttering “yes sir, yes sir.”


Phone chatter, chatter – – about law suits, tax issues, romance, decorating, politics, a little mentoring to Carson on how to get away with paying taxes. All the poor guy wants to do is fly off into the sunset with his young princess and get married . . . is that too much to ask?


Well repetitious, yes, but to see Pacino in the flesh, pacing, growling, with body language and expressions that need no words, ready to eat his prey – – one can live with it. Pam MacKinnon does the best she can do with what she’s been given by Mamet.


China Doll, Gerald Schoenfeld Theater, West 45th Street, NYC, 2 hours. Thru January 31.


Photos: Jeremy Daniel