Funny business 

Theater Review | Thru Sept. 21

Theater Review | Thru Sept. 21
Neil Simon, best known for his comedies, tried his hand at a little more serious matter in the first third of Plaza Suite, now on stage at Epilogue Players. But rest assured that the rest of the show is back to funny business. All three acts are set in the Plaza Hotel in New York during the late ’60s. Each section portrays different guests staying in suite 719 at different times. The theme that binds them, besides the location, is marriage, and its intricacies. The first portion, “Visitors from Mamoroneck,” is the strongest of the trident, as well as the best acted in this production. It is about a husband and wife on the cusp of their 23rd or 24th (depending on which spouse you ask) anniversary. Sam, played by Bill Becker, is much more interested in work than his wife, Karen (Lina Ricks), who would be satisfied with being thrown a scrap of romantic bone. The act is quite sad in some ways, and the comedy is of a bitter, dark sort. The performances are very earnest and intense. Becker is solid stone towards his wife, and Ricks is whipcrack sharp as a potent tease, who oscillates from sarcastic to acceptingly pragmatic. Next is “Visitor from Hollywood,” which is the transition to the fluff comedy ending, “Visitors from Forest Hills.” In “Hollywood,” high school sweethearts reunite for an afternoon after many years apart. She is a wife and mother in their hometown, and he has become a successful Hollywood producer. His goal: Suave her into bed. She is a regular tabloid-aholic who has followed his career and life in detail since he left, and is fascinated with the Hollywood scene. Muriel, played by Deborah Adams, is a jittery little thing, and fun to watch as she blithely ignores Jesse’s (Terry Minkey) advances. Ending the evening is “Visitors from Forest Hills.” Twenty-one-year-old Mimsey has a case of cold feet before her marriage, which is set to take place downstairs any minute. She has locked herself in the bathroom and no amount of threatening by her parents will get her out. Jerry Glass as Dad huffs and blusters his frustration out on his wife, the door, a chair … The wife, Beverly Gray, is left to resemble a flustered hen most of the time in the face of Dad’s temper. Light-hearted comedy with the one caveat thrown in: Mimsey’s afraid of turning out like her parents. Doc Klos, who also directed, uses some nice old-fashioned furniture to get the swank and old-timey feel of the Plaza. Plaza Suite continues through Sept. 21. Epilogue is located at 1849 Alabama St. Call 842-2811.

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