David Mamet’s play, November, would be dead in the H20 without Nathan Lane.  Mr. Lane can’t turn a bad play into  a good one, but he can make it watchable.  Even he seems to know this about November, and at times he just seems to be biding his time until his contract is up and something better comes along.

The silly premise of this thing is Nathan Lane as one term president Charles Smith who is running for re-election and even his closest advisor, not to mention his party, accepts that he can not win again. But he needs to.  For one thing, he is broke.  For another there will be no presidential library.  “Doesn’t every president get one?” he asks plaintively.

His one opportunity to raise the money for a re-election campaign and/or a library and/or retirement bucks is to turn the traditional Thanksgiving pardon of a turkey into a big money-maker. Mamet creates an accepted fee of 50k for the sake of this play. The turkey industry wants him to pardon two turkeys ...lest one gets sick and dies.  His speech writer, Laurie Metcalf from TV sitcom Roseanne, wants the president to marry her and her lesbian partner and won’t write the speech he needs if he doesn’t.  The controversial marriage would kill his chances for re-election anyway, so he is between a rock and a hard place and a brick wall.

Well, I would divulge the outcome, but who cares?  We never see the two turkeys, but we are looking directly into the eyeballs of the third:  the play itself.

Sorry to  say that the “F” word is used way too often and to ill effect.  So often, in fact, that when it could have had some value in context it has already lost its punch and is but an irritant to the ear.

So, if you would like to see a great farcical actor work, and surely Lane is that, even though he does seem to be biding his time in a role he must wish he had never undertaken, then check him out.  If you want a good play, don’t.