Fully Committed Starring Marcus Brigstocke
Deft solo performance undermined by outdated comedy
This article is from 2015.
Becky Mode's pacey comedy gets a revival, with Marcus Brigstocke as its solo performer. It's a mile-a-minute role that Brigstocke tackles with aplomb in a slick production – but the play itself is a disappointment, the jokes dated and filled with caricatures.
Sam Peliczowski mans the reservations line at one of New York's top restaurants, and no one will stop calling. His customers are a grotesque array of entitled, pushy snobs, his chef is a bully and his manager's gone AWOL. Sam himself seems like a pretty nice guy, with a sweet, recently widowed dad who just wants him to come home for Christmas.
It's a neat set-up and Brigstocke voices every character, deftly switching between Sam and the umpteen people he deals with, barely pausing for breath. The set too, is richly detailed, its 1990s setting signposted by the pin-ups of Cindy Crawford and Baywatch-era Pamela Anderson – not to mention the fact that all of Sam's phone conversations take place on landlines.
But the jokes in Mode's play haven't fared well over the last decade and a half. None of Sam's customers are pleasant but the women get a particularly raw deal in the whiny-stakes, and some uncomfortable cultural stereotypes that persist; when a Japanese customer calls, the ridiculous dialogue that follows is painful. Who knows what Brigstocke makes of having to say those lines: but he does it with a swiftness that highlights his solid performance skills.
Underbelly Potterrow, 0844 545 8252, until 30 Aug (not 17), 2pm, £12–£15 (£10.50–£13).