The Shark Is Broken - Ambassadors Theatre - Review

I always love taking a shot at a show that seems to go against the grain, one that stands out and seems a bit different from everything else in the West End. So when Scott asked if The Shark Is Broken was a play that I wanted to see, I got us tickets. I'm going to be honest, whilst I love the film of Jaws and it's one that I've seen time and time again, I wasn't too sure if a play about it was really going to win me over, but I am always willing to give something a try. With the show being an Edinburgh Festival smash, I knew we would be in for a treat. 

Set in a continuous 90 minute show with no interval, The Shark Is Broken tells the tale of Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw, the three starring actors in the film Jaws as they sit atop the boat waiting for Bruce, the mechanical shark to be fixed during filming. Set against a striking piece of set, you are thrown across days and weeks as these men talk, argue, drink, and ponder their life choices as they wait to see if the filming will ever end. 

The show is filled with dry humour, references to their hopes and dreams for the future (some of which we are well aware don't come true!), and in-jokes about the film itself. So it's worth going into the play with some knowledge about who people are, and what happens in the film. But the play is just as much a journey of self discovery for these three men as it is a poignant look at the film the world knows and loves. 

The three actors really embody each character, drawing on their mannerisms and accents to give depth to each character. From the young Dreyfuss (played by Liam Murray Scott) wondering if he has ruined his acting career by joining a film about a shark, to the veteran actor Scheider (played by Demitri Goritsas) dwelling on the future of the world and vowing he will never star in the sequel if there is one. Both these actors hold strong and bring performances that transport you into that time and place. But Shaw, who is played by his own son Ian is the true star of the show. From reciting Shakespeare's Sonnet 29, to pondering the future of his own children, you can truly see that Shaw researched and did everything he could to embody his father. It was a truly brilliant portrayal. 

Whilst the show is only 90 minutes, I do feel like that is more than enough time for us to spend aboard the boat, and I felt this show packed neatly in this shark shaped box and hit all the right notes for both comedy, theatre, and Jaws lovers. With the audience laughing at all the references we know and love, and deathly silent during those moments of sombre monologues, it was a truly delightful show. 

Will it stand the test of time and become a smash the world over? I'm not too sure, I do feel that it's a show that I wouldn't be able to return back to as easily as others, but was altogether an enjoyable one. With Jaws having the cult following it does, I do hope that it remains a part of the theatre world in some way, but I do fear that a bigger boat would be needed to make the same sort of waves that the film has. 

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