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Plaza Suite

a Comedy
by Neil Simon

COMPANY : New London Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Hello Again Variety Mall [WEBSITE]
ID# 4741

SHOWING : June 12, 2015 - June 28, 2015



Hilarity abounds in this portrait of three couples successively occupying a suite at the Plaza. A suburban couple take the suite while their house is being painted and it turns out to be the one in which they honeymooned 23 (or was it 24?) years before and was yesterday the anniversary, or is it today? This wry tale of marriage in tatters is followed by the exploits of a Hollywood producer who, after three marriages, is looking for fresh fields. He calls a childhood sweetheart, now a suburban housewife, for a little sexual diversion. Over the years she has idolized him from afar and is now more than the match he bargained for. The last couple is a mother and father fighting about the best way to get their daughter out of the bathroom and down to the ballroom where guests await her or as Mother yells, "I want you to come out of that bathroom and get married!"

Director Richard Diaz
Muriel Tate Rebecca Carrico
Roy Hubley Greg Fitzgerald
Norma Hubley Tina Holder
Jesse Kiplinger David Huenergardt
Sam Nash Lee Brewer Jones
Bellhop/Waiter/Bordon Eisler Stephen Mitchell
Karen Nash Nicole Ojeda-Johns
Jean McCormack/Mimsey Hubley Heidi Siberon
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A Non-Luxury Hotel
by playgoer
Monday, June 22, 2015
Neil Simon plays are almost always entertaining. With a moderately good cast, any production can garner lots of laughs. New London Theatre’s "Plaza Suite" is no exception. All the action, as the title suggests, takes place in the same room (#719) in New York’s Plaza Hotel.

At New London, the set (designed by the director) has very good bones. The two rooms of the hotel suite are laid out in a logical and attractive manner. Unfortunately, many of the flats making up the walls are wavy or obviously pieced, and they’re painted a fairly unpleasant orangey yellow. The furnishings in the room are threadbare, not at all befitting a luxury hotel, even one that is not brand-new. Props (by Mary Susan Moore) have some nice period details in paper signage, and lighting and sound design (by the director) work well. In particular, music cues nicely inform the audience when a scene is coming to an end.

Casting populates each of the three scenes with couples of inappropriate ages. In two cases, the male seems significantly older than the female; in one case, the female appears to be the older. This is not a fatal flaw, however; the acting makes the audience forget the age discrepancies within moments.

The first couple (Nicole Ojeda-Johns and Lee Jones) portray a long-married pair dealing with marital problems. The second couple (David Huenergardt and Rebecca Carrico) portray high school sweethearts reconnecting after 17 years apart. The third couple (Tina Holder and Gregory Fitzgerald) portray parents of a young woman who refuses to come out of the bathroom on the day of her wedding. There’s a actually a fourth couple in the last scene (Stephen Mitchell and Heidi Siberon), but they have little stage time, and they play different characters in the first two scenes.

Each scene has its own costume plot. Costumes by Mary Susan Moore do a good job of helping to delineate character. There are a couple of minor missteps in the final scene, though: the back of Mr. Fitzgerald’s tuxedo too obviously gives away that it’s a tear-away jacket, and Ms. Holder seems to have diamond rings on both hands, when the script clearly states that she possesses a single diamond ring.

Director Richard Diaz has done a fine job of molding his actors’ performances into unified, multi-character arcs. The chemistry is most palpable in the middle of the three scenes, where Mr. Huenergardt’s Jesse, equal parts sincerity and pomposity, gives way to the forward-acting, but verbally demure Muriel of Ms. Carrico. There are plenty of laughs in all three scenes, though. New London’s production of "Plaza Suite" lets Neil Simon’s comedy shine through. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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