Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Plaza Suite"

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entire contents copyright 2001 by Tony Annicone

"Plaza Suite"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Theatre Company's current show is the hit Neil Simon comedy, "Plaza Suite". It is about three couples occupying the same suite in this famous New York Hotel in 1968. The first is a tale of a marriage in tatters, the second the exploits of a famous Hollywood producer renewing his relationship with a childhood sweetheart and the last, a mother and father fighting on the best way to get their daughter out of the bathroom to be married. Director/producer Donna Adamonis casts 8 talented people in these roles making it into a comic romp an audience can throughly enjoy.

Newlyweds in real life, Kelly House and Bill Dunn play the first couple, Karen and Sam Nash who have been unhappily married for 23 or 24 years. Kelly and Bill infuse their roles with the energy needed to make a bickering couple funny. She stomps around in one boot trying to find a pencil while her husband is on the phone.Karen is bad with numbers but figures out Sam is cheating on her with his secretary. The fast paced dialogue moves this scene rapidly so the audience sees and reacts to the comedy and doesn't worry about the serious problems facing this couple. Wonderful job by two talented performers working on their own real life wedding night. Best wishes for future happiness! Jessica Roch plays the sexy secretary trying to steal Sam from Karen and in the last act plays Mimsey, the bride in the bathroom. Only a high school student she shows the poise of a much older actress.

The smarmy, handsome womanizing producer, Jesse Kiplinger is played perfectly by Richard Manoogian in the second segment of the show. His putting aftershave on before his intended shows up is very comical as is his pursuit of her. He keeps giving her the drink trying to get her drunk but she doesn't take a sip for a long time making it a recurring comic gem. The funniest part of this scene becomes when the persuer becomes persued. Richard is thrown on the bed and attacked by Cathy Mendonca playing Muriel Tate, a shy girl up to this point. What a hoot. Richard makes a great leading man in this scene and makes the producer into a person the audience can easily identify. A talented young man. Cathy plays her part very well building into the unhappy woman who is disatisfied with her life and sees her old boyfriend as a real live man not someone from Hollywood to be idolized. They have great chemistry in the kissing scenes. And the final taking one piece of clothing off at a time while reciting who was at the last Oscar party is the hilarious way to close out this well acted scene.

The last scene of the show is Neil Simon at his best and wittiest. The comic antics of two hysterical parents who are spending a fortune on the wedding for their daughter who is locked in the bathroom is priceless. Joan Batting, a red headed Tallulah Bankhead, sound alike, is wonderful as the crazed mother, Norma Hubley. Her wedding hat is so enormous it covers her face and it leads to many laughs as does her ripped stockings and her fainting heart attack spells.Ron Pelletier as her husband, Roy is a whirling dervish on the stage trying to break down the door, walking out on the ledge and returning soaking wet after being drenched in a rainstorm while out the ledge. Ron's comic expressions and stong delivery of Simon's dialogue is excellent. He and Joan make this scene a shining example of comedy at its best. Last but not least is aspiring actor, Andrew Cox who appears in the first two scenes as a bellhop and waiter. But it is in the last scene where Andrew as the husband to be, Bordon, has the best line in the show, "Mimsey, cool it!". The delivery of that one line brought the house down with gales of laughter. A great way to break into show business.(Jacklin Machado, a student actress, plays the maid who cleans up between scenes two and three.)Her mother, Cheryl, the associate producer and stage manager, supplies the audience with a succulent dessert buffet, including assorted sweets, watermelon, veggies, dip and pizza (my favorite) plus coffe, tea, lemonade, punch and ice water. Donna and Cheryl do splendid work at Theatre Company and this show is a shining example of it. So go to this air conditioned theatre and enjoy a Neil Simon show at the same time. The red wall papered bedroom set is stunning, too. Tell them Tony sent you.

"Plaza Suite" (till 24 June)
1 Harris Street Street, COVENTRY, RHODE ISLAND
1(401) 827-0091

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide