Sydney-based travel and arts writer www.jasminecrittenden.net
Hilarious one-man show reveals fine dining's inner world
There's nowhere for an actor to hide in Becky Mode's one-man satire, Fully Committed. The script demands impeccable comic timing, split-second switching of forty different characters and enough accents to start a UN round table. The Brevity Theatre Co. found the right team for the job in actor Nick Curnow and director Alexander Butt.
His main role is Sam Peliczowski, an unemployed actor whose day job involves manning the internal and external phone lines of a four-star Manhattan restaurant. The other thirty-nine roles are the characters with which Sam interacts during the course of one working day. While A-listers and wanna-be A-listers hob nob in luxury upstairs, he's trapped in a drab, windowless basement, fielding a relentless stream of calls from ridiculously importunate customers. Despite the restaurant being booked out for months, they'll stop at nothing to land a table, from bribery to melodrama to sheer persistence.
Simultaneously, Sam must cope with an egotistical chef, a catty headwaiter, a well-meaning but clueless security guard and his gentle father, who just wants to know whether or not his son will come home for Christmas. Plus, he's desperately waiting for a call back from the Lincoln Centre.
Curnow wins us over as the beleaguered Sam. We find ourselves committed to his mounting struggle to maintain his cool and he skillfully sustains the tension necessary to the will-he-won't-he-lose-it suspense. Moreover, the deft swapping between characters is not only convincing, but hilariously entertaining, without being over-the-top. Curnow meets the challenge of the script with both scope and finesse.
Debuted in Australia at the New Theatre as part of Sydney Fringe Festival, Fully Committed was The Brevity Theatre Co.'s first ever production. It's an exhilarating start.