Plaza Suite

Neil Simon’s comedy is made up of three self-contained acts in three different explorations of relationships, all of which take place in the same room at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

Although it doesn’t break new ground, this is a well-polished performance of a classic drawing-room comedy that will appeal to fans of the genre.

Presented by the Relative Theatre Company, many of the cast members appear in different roles across the three acts, and clearly revel in the writing.

The setting of period furniture works well in suggesting the opulent surrounds of an old-school luxury hotel, and costuming and makeup is a nod to the era – I particularly liked the two-toned 70s eye shadow worn by Beag Horne as Karen Nash. In this first act, Visitor from Mamaronek, Karen Nash has booked this room especially to surprise her husband Sam on their anniversary. They’ve been married 23 or 24 years, depending on which character is right, and the anniversary is either that day or the next. Sam (Aaron Pennie) is overworked and not in the mood for celebrating, but Karen approaches it as though their marriage depends on it. This act felt too long in comparison to the two that followed.

In Visitor from Hollywood, successful film producer Jesse Kiplinger (Aaron Pennie) is returning to New York, hoping to rekindle romance with his high school sweetheart Muriel – played to ditzy, demure perfection be Suzanne Shanks, who also shines as the buttoned-down secretary to Sam Nash in the previous act. Married mother of three Muriel seems completely unaware of Jesse’s amorous intentions to begin with. A very funny and very satisfying act.

In Visitor from Forest Hills, Norma (Diana Hoff) waits in the suite for her bride-to-be daughter to unlock the bathroom door. Afraid the wedding won’t happen, she calls on her husband to help, who is played by Tom Macdougall. He’s got a lovely stage presence and mellifluous voice. As Roy Hubley it’s a treat to watch him as the situation grows more desperate and absurd; he and Hoff are very believable in their bickering and attempts to find a solution to the situation. Aaron Pennie demonstrates his versatility by appearing yet again, with yet another distinct character.

Although it doesn’t break new ground, this is a well-polished performance of a classic drawing-room comedy that will appeal to fans of the genre.

Reviews by Emma Gibson

theSpace @ Venue45

Love and Information by Caryl Churchill

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The Blurb

Neil Simon’s witty and sparkling three act comedy is set in the same hotel suite with three very different couples. The first are celebrating their bittersweet wedding anniversary, the second is the bored film producer working hard at seducing a star-struck old flame and the third act finds the agitated parents of the bride trying to persuade their reluctant daughter to come out of the bathroom and get married.