Lindsay Lohan makes stage debut
The Hollywood actress forgot her lines once during the second act of Speed-the-Plow and was helped by a prompt.
She plays the role of secretary Karen in David Mamet’s Hollywood satire, a role that was originated by Madonna on Broadway in 1988.
But one prominent critic described the Lohan as being “out of her league”.
During the curtain call, Lohan let off a giant party popper that showered the front of the stalls with gold confetti.
The 28-year-old appears alongside West Wing star Richard Schiff and stage actor Nigel Lindsay who play Hollywood hotshots – Bobby Gould and Charlie Fox – who want to pitch a movie idea to the head of the film studio.
Their plan goes awry when Karen suggests a different idea for a film based on a book she was asked to read.
Thursday’s opening night at the Playhouse Theatre followed a week of previews and newspaper speculation about Lohan’s performance.
The actress developed a reputation for being unreliable after her early career as a child star descended into alcohol abuse and a series of arrests,
Lohan, who made her name in films such as The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Mean Girls, told the BBC in July she felt “very lucky and excited and nervous” to be making her stage debut in the UK and did not intend to miss any of her London shows.
“I want to be known for my talents and my work that I create, rather than a tabloid sensation,” she said.
After Thursday’s opening night, The Stage’s critic Mark Shenton said the West End was not there to “nurture the egos of minor Hollywood actors”.
“There are really qualified actors to play this part and she’s not qualified. She was so out of her league. We are talking about the wrong Lindsay here. It’s Nigel Lindsay we should be talking about. He is a serious actor.”
One member of the audience, Olga Reykhart, 20, from Russia, told the BBC: “I think Lindsay belongs in the movie world, and she doesn’t really belong in the theatre.
“She did forget a line – that was okay – but my impression was that her voice didn’t fit the stage. I expected the audience to be in crazier state when it was over.”
Nora Blake, 20, from Connecticut, in the US, said she would be happy to see Lohan on stage again. “The star casting makes people want to see it and see if she messes up – that’s not the way to do it. But I would love to see her in more stuff.”
Ahead of opening night, Speed-the-Plow’s director Lindsay Posner told Whatsonstage.com that Lohan’s involvement in the play was not an example of “stunt casting”.
“If I’d wanted to do stunt casting I would have cast a supermodel or Paris Hilton. I’ve always believed that Lindsay Lohan is a proper actress. In the movies I’ve seen her in, despite her troubles in life, I’ve always thought she was supremely talented.
“And when she came into the rehearsed readings it was manifestly clear that she hasn’t lost that talent. Although for obvious reasons I was taking a risk, I felt I was casting a really good actress for the part.”
The show runs at the Playhouse Theatre until 29 November.