Review: The Shark is Broken (rating 5/5)
Set on the small boat where three actors spent several weeks waiting for a mechanical shark to function as it should do, this is a wonderful behind-the-scenes insight into the making of 1970s movie Jaws and the relationship between its three main actors.
However, you neither have to have seen the movie nor know anything about the actors to appreciate Ian Shaw (son of Robert who played Quint, the boat owner, in the movie) and Joseph Nixon’s excellent writing which is superbly delivered by a fantastic cast.
The play opens with Chief Brody and Hooper – the characters are named after the role’s they played in the movie, rather than the actors that played them – waiting for filming to resume.
Hooper, (Richard Dreyfuss in the film), is the young upstart, wisecracking as he bemoans the delays and the inadequacies of the script, while Brody (Roy Scheider in the film) has the been there, bought the T-shirt resignation of someone whose career is already well established and for whom the movie is just another pay-check. The rapport between Duncan Henderson as Brody and Liam Murray Scott as Hooper is instantly established before Quint, played by Shaw, is introduced to the mix.
Shaw’s stiff upper lip English accent and aloofness makes him appear the odd man out, but his world weariness links him to Brody while his barbed comments and self-belief suggest he could have been closer to Hooper in his formative years.
The dialogue moves effortlessly between reflections on the movie and the film industry as a whole, to the older actors dismissiveness of Hooper’s youth and the threat it poses to them, before eventually heading to the deeply personal as Quint talks about his father and the parallels between the actor playing the role and his late father become clear.
There are heavy doses of irony as they talk about corrupt presidents, where Spielberg’s career may go in the future, and why sequels don’t work and shouldn’t be made, but it’s all perfectly balanced and delivered with supreme ease by three actors who are clearly relishing the roles.
With the play selling out its initial run and extra shows being added, there is only one conclusion you can reach – should have got a bigger theatre.
Assembly George Square – alternate days until 25 August, extra shows 22 and 24