Room Service -- Deftly Done Farce
A fine farce is on the boards at Westport Country Playhouse. Concluding its season of comedies, Room Service shows us just how funny a silly farce can be.
This one is set in 1937 and is all about a struggling theatrical producer, Gordon Miller who has been rehearsing a new play in the White Way Hotel in New York City. The problem is that both he and the cast have been staying and eating there for 5 months without paying the bill which has grown to 12 hundred dollars! Now the hotel manager - who happens to be his brother-in-law -- is facing a visit by the corporate accountant.
So we have the perfect farce set up -- a room with multiple doors -- a group of people determined to deceive and lots of confusion. Because also in the mix with the producer is the play's director, the producer's girl friend, his assistant and before long, the naive first time playwright. Oh, and I forgot the corporate accountant, a waiter who was a star in Russian theater, and a prospective backer who could solve all the problems.
It is truly a laughter filled evening. Although it starts slowly, the first act has one of the great curtain lines of all times: "What's wrong with him? He wrote a play!"
Mark Lamos has directed a stellar cast who keeps the pace moving, providing both realism and exaggeration. While Ben Steinfeld was terrific as the producer, I was drawn to some of the supporting characters. Frank Vlastnik plays three small roles but each is distinct and funny. and Peter Von Berg is perfect as the Russian actor. Plus there is David Beach as the brother-in-law, Michael McCormick as the visiting hotel executive and Eric Bryant as the naive playwright.
So if you want to put your cares away, and enjoy some fast-paced laughs, you should head to the Westport Country Playhouse. Room Service runs through Oct. 27.
This review aired on WNHU, 88.7 FM and wwwnhu.net.