Fully Committed – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

If a one man show can be described as a tour de force for the one man playing one part, what would you term a one man show when the amazing actor awesomely portrays thirty three roles? You have the unique and pleasurable opportunity to witness this event first hand until Sunday, September 1 when TheaterWorks of Hartford proudly presents Jamison Stern in Becky Mode’s challenging comedy “Fully Committed.” Jamison Stern plays an out of work actor forced to pay his rent by taking a job as the reservation taker at a trendy and much sought after restaurant in New York City, where everyone who is anyone wants to be seen.

Of course, the smaller the portions the bigger the price tag and the more unusual the offerings created daily by the Chef, who is temperamental to the extreme. Stern as Sam has to be a master juggler to answer the phones and confess the eatery is booked at least three months in advance, hence the comment about being “fully committed.”

Playwright Becky Mode has nailed with pinpoint accuracy the craziness and caginess of the customers who seek a reserved table at the current hot place. Stern plays them all, insiders like the egotistical chef and snide maitre ‘d and outsiders like Gwyneth Paltrow’s fawning assistant and demanding Mafia men who are willing to pay extravagantly to get a table. Stern assumes all the mannerisms and accents as he juggles family, friends, acting competitors and wannabe customers of the chichi global fusion cuisine his restaurant specializes in serving, or whatever is the current flavor of the day.

Sam fields phone calls like a pro, handles messy emergencies without breaking too much of a sweat and ends up satisfying most of his contacts as the jolly Christmas spirit adds a little more urgency to his multi-tasking. Bill Fennelly directs this behind the scenes romp into restaurant ramekins and rigors, on a detailed restaurant basement set designed by Brian Prather.

For tickets ($25-70), call TheaterWorks at 860-527-7838 or online at theaterworkshartford.org. Performances are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, and Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. All shows will be at the Wadsworth, 29 Atheneum Square North, Hartford while their 233 Pearl Street location is under renovations.

Reserve a V. I. P. seat for this hectic holiday hilarity as Sam the man tries to fill requests from the sublime to the ridiculous.