Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stage Door Theatre: Plaza Suite (2 reviews)

The Stage Door Theatre opened its production of Neil Simon's Plaza Suite on February 4, 2010.
Hilarity abounds in this Neil Simon play about three couples successively occupying a suite at the Plaza. “Wonderfully funny…the wildest and most uproarious farce I have seen on a stage!” New York Daily News. “Set the Town Laughing”…New York Times...
Michael Leeds directed a cast that included Derelle "Dee" Bunn, Kevin Reilly, Bill Dobbins, Courtney Cameron Reed, Margie Elias Eisenberg, Danielle Tabino, Michael Douglass (not THAT one), and Sam Sherburne.

John Lariviere reviewed for Talkin' Broadway:
Derelle Bunn captures the essence of Karen Nash despite the occasional line that sounds a bit stiff. She has a sweet vulnerability mixed with the quiet, long-suffering nature of the character... Kevin Reilley as husband Sam has good chemistry with her as an actor, but is missing some of the spousal warmth Bunn sends his way...
...Bill Dobbins adeptly portrays the shallow and smarmy playboy Jesse Kiplinger in the second scene. As his romantic prey Muriel, Courtney Cameron Reed doesn't quite settle into her role believably, missing some well written comedic acting opportunities. She needs to channel her tension as a actress into her character's tension.
In the final scene of the show, Margie Elias Eisenberg and Michael Douglass work as a well-oiled acting machine as longtime husband and wife Norma and Roy Hubley... Simon's writing in Plaza Suite is some of his best, and is certainly at its best in this production when handled by Eisenberg and Douglass.
Michelle F. Solomon reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:
Plaza Suite has been staged a multitude of times... The challenge today for any theater group that would take on a production of the Neil Simon comedy would be to bring freshness to a play that’s been done to death.

Surprisingly, Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs accomplishes this, and then some. The production owes its success to well-paced direction by Michael Leeds and an eager cast that approaches each character with originality.
In Act One, Derelle “Dee” Bunn and Kevin Reilly play Sam and Karen Nash, a middle-aged couple who are spending the night at the hotel while their house is being painted... Bunn has a breezy style that pairs well with Reilly’s uptight portrayal of the harried Sam Nash. Both bring the necessary roller-coaster of emotions that are required of this scene, which is the most serious of the three acts.
Act Two... Bill Dobbins is “big time Hollywood producer” Jesse Kiplinger... He’s rung up his old girlfriend, Muriel Tate (Courtney Cameron Reed)...
Dobbins’ appearance creates the first burst of hilarity in a tie-dyed leisure suit and white patent leather shoes. Reed, with a red flip hairdo, wearing a pink and green shift dress, plays the suburban housewife to the hilt. The two play well off of each other, and both are able to find just the right balance to ensure that the stereotypes don’t escalate into caricatures.
In Act Three...setting for bridal preparations. All should be progressing as it should until the mother-of-the-bride, Norma (Margie Elias Eisenberg) realizes that bride-to-be, Mimsey (Danielle Tabino), has locked herself in the bedroom suffering from a case of cold feet.
Michael Douglass plays the father-of-the-bride who is called to coax Mimsey out of the bedroom. Douglass could have taken the easy way out and phoned in a carbon copy of (Walter) Matthau’s (characterization)... But here Douglass gives audiences a wholly original portrait full of physical comedy to guarantee heaps of belly laughs. Eisenberg holds her own, making sure that Norma’s lines get the attention they deserve amid the raucous chaos.
Plaza Suite plays at The Stage Door Theatre through March 20, 2011.

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