15 November 2021
THE SHARK IS BROKEN (Ambassadors Theatre) Review

According to movie trivia, when the “Jaws” was being filmed in 1974, the mechanical shark was broken a fair bit (actually there was more than one, but that didn’t seem to help much), so the actors had nothing to do but hang out on a boat outside Martha’s Vineyard and wait for the shark to be repaired, so they could continue filming.

This play was written by Ian Shaw (also acting), who happens to be a son of Robert Shaw (who played Quint the shark killer in the film), so, in a lot of ways, the play is a tribute to his dad.  It’s not clear how much of the dialog is reconstructed vs. imagined, but it doesn’t really matter.  The play just flows…

Ian Shaw as Robert Shaw, Demetri Goritsas as Roy Scheider (Sheriff Brody in the film), and Liam Murray Scott as Richard Dreyfuss (Hooper the scientist in the film) make up a perfect trio.  Although none of them look like their “Jaws” counterparts in real life (not even Shaw), they certainly do in the play, and a lot of care and detail seems to have gone into ensuring that the everyone’s mannerisms were spot on.  Guy Masterson’s direction gives cohesiveness to what otherwise could’ve been unstructured and confusing bits of dialogue, and Duncan Henderson’s set is delightful and has clear sightlines from pretty much everywhere in the audience.

The play makes for a very enjoyable watching:  it’s a bit like being let in on behind the scenes drama, but in a way that’s more than just idle gawking.  Even if you’ve never seen “Jaws”, the play still makes sense by way of showing you what it’s like to have three people locked together in close quarters and be forced to cope with each other’s quirks and flaws.

Cheapskate enjoyment value: £3.

Covid Note: Sadly, same as everywhere…  No masks are mandatory, no checks of any sort.  Disappointing.

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