Friday, 19 September 2014

Review - Fully Committed


THERE'S no doubt that waiters, waitresses and bar tenders can find themselves on the receiving end of some disagreeable customers from time to time.
But spare a thought for the drudge who takes the bookings - especially those for the most popular and sought after restaurant in town.
A glimpse into what their lives must be like is the focus of Fully Committed, an hilarious one-man play by American writer Becky Mode which has just opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory and which could have you thinking twice next time you want to berate the poor soul who can't get you into the Chiltern Firehouse.
Starring Kevin Bishop, it is directed by Mark Setlock who helped create the original show and which launched the Menier 10 years ago.
Kevin plays resting actor Sam Peliczowski, who, in between trying to boost his flagging career and making time for his father, mans the phone at the most swanky and in demand restaurant in Manhattan.
He sits in the basement, alone save for the phones which ring incesently and an intercom to the restaurant upstairs.
Every day he speaks to, or rather is spoken to, a whole manner of characters, most of whom want to eat at the restaurant.
They include coked up Bryce, an Australian PA to model Naomi Campbell who demands a vegan tasting menu for 15 and who promises to bring in his own light bulbs if the restaurant doesn't have any dim enough, Sam's prima donna boss, a fellow actor who bitchily rings him up to gloat about his own success at the expense of Sam's, a wealthy dowager who demands to be at the top of the VIP list, a mafiosa boss and plenty of others in between.
Kevin not only plays Sam but every other one of the 40 characters Sam speaks to. Not only are there different accents and mannerisms to portray but it demands dazzlingly quick character changes.
All of which Kevin does effortlessly. It is an astonishing performance and combined with an hilariously witty and biting script makes this play one to recommend.

Fully Committed is on at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark Street until November 15. Tickets cost from £29.50. Visit or call the box office on 020 7378 1713.

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