Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fully Committed

Fully Committed (Brevity Theatre) runs at the Old Fitzroy Hotel from 24 February - 1 March. By Becky Mode, directed by Alexander Butt.
Fully Committed is probably not a piece of theatre that is going to change your life, but it is great fun. Nick Curnow delivers almost forty characters in this one-man show in a testament to his range and capability. But it’s not just an actor showing off: there’s a coherent storyline, and it’s weirdly touching (as well as super funny).

Sam is a wannabe actor who is making money by working as a junior administrative assistant in a high-demand restaurant in New York City. His superior Bob is late because his car has broken down (or has it?), and he’s forced to man all the phones by himself, as well as deal with requests from the highly-strung chef, maitre’d, hostess, security guard, and, not least, his family. As more and more customers inundate his phone with requests for tables at ridiculously short notice, more and more responsibility is forced onto Sam’s shoulders when Mr and Mrs Zagat (presumably of the Zagat Guide) walk in, only to find that their reservation has been screwed up. And on top of all this, Sam is forced to deal with his self-aggrandising actor friend Jerry and the stress of finding out whether or not he’s got that big callback he wanted…

Sam is obviously the protagonist of this piece, as well as being the only character that technically appears on stage, but Nick Curnow manages to play the panoply of characters in Fully Committed with aplomb, from the surly chef wanting to know where his helicopter is to Tyra Banks’ bubbly assistant Bryce to the hysterical Mrs Sebag. Curnow is simply fabulous in this piece: sympathetic as the harrowed Sam, neatly differentiating between the myriad of different characters. If I had one criticism, it’s that he probably relies too heavily on accents, but hey, if you can do them, why not flaunt them?

 The show takes a little while to get going while the audience settle in and suspend their disbelief – one actor playing so many characters is a massive theatrical conceit, after all – but once it finds its feet, Fully Committed is great fun. It’s instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever worked answering phones (the time I spent working in a call centre came immediately flooding back to me), and as well as being very funny, it has a heart. It plays this week only, so if you want some fun theatre and a good laugh (it’s only about an hour long), get along to the Old Fitz and check it out.

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