The year-long success of Oleanna was remarkable, especially for a new play. Even more remarkable was the fairly huge profit it made - almost unheard of these days. Contributory factors included relatively low production costs (a cast of two) and the fact that the play opened to the kind of storm publicists dream of.
Every play the Royal Court has taken into town - Serious Money, Death and the Maiden, Six Degrees of Separation and Oleanna - has turned a profit. Despite their belief in Our Country's Good, after two London runs and a national tour, they decided not to risk it. Producer Frank Gero picked up the tab on that one and it is he who is behind The Cryptogram. With Mamet coming off a hit, and Lindsay Duncan and Eddie Izzard making up two-thirds of the cast (the other role is for a 10-year-old boy), the indications are good.
Glengarry Glen Ross has the kind of cast that director Sam Mendes always manages to attract. This time he has the underrated Ron Cook who (regrettably) rarely gets to play leads, but whose beautifully detailed and unflashy performances tend to steal shows.
The Cryptogram is at the Ambassadors Theatre (071-836 6111), Glengarry Glen Ross is at the Donmar Warehouse from Thursday (071-867 1150)