Feb 5, 2019
by Alexa Chipman
Financial woes are the driving force of ‘Room Service.’ Broadway producer Gordon Miller (Schuyler Marcier) is holed up in his brother-in-law’s hotel, running up absurd bills while housing himself and the entire cast of his current play. The scheme is going perfectly, with a financial backer set to arrive, and rehearsals nearly completed.
In blusters Gregory Wagner (Tim Shippey), who has arrived to investigate why the hotel has fallen so far into debt. His dogged insistence on immediate payment throws the artists into a tizzy of mounting antics to save their play.
DirectorJoe Gellura has opted for an exaggerated style, with melodramatic expressions and slapstick comedy. Actors toss clothes across the stage, dart under the bed, and catapult through doors with gleeful enthusiasm. The breakfast scene, after hours of going without food, is outstanding. Characters huddle around a low table, moaning in ecstasy over the coffee, while pretending to listen to an audition.
The lively pacing of ‘Room Service’ would be better served if the play were shorter, but there are enough amusing surprises to maintain interest, despite its lengthy three-act structure.
Bohn Connor is exceptional as eccentric stage director Harry Binion, fully embracing the silly humor with outrageous reactions. He terrifies the sweet, naïve author Leo Davis (Austin Schmidt) who arrives in New York with dreams of stardom. The young writer is quickly pulled into the seedy machinations of Binion and Miller.
While not a universally strong ensemble, there are standout performances by Robert Bauer as the cantankerous Dr. Glass and Zack Acevedo as the earnest hotel waiter Sasha Smirnoff.
Set designer Ron Nash has created a comfortable setting with warm tones and a cozy atmosphere. The piles of suits and jackets were designed by Holly Werner, who must have had a challenge making sure sizes were correct for the constant onstage wardrobe shifts between actors.
‘Room Service’ is exuberant fun with a budding romance and unquenchable enthusiasm for the performing arts. Its “show must go on” attitude leads to all sorts of questionable hijinks and delightfully frivolous entertainment.
Presented by Raven Players through February 10, 2019
Fri/Sat at 8:00pm, Sun at 2:00pm
Tickets: $25 general, $20 senior, $10 student
Photos courtesy of Ray Mabry Photography.
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