Tom Nealon, of the Brewery Lane Theatre Group in Carrick-on-Suir, showed another facet of his considerable skill with a laughter-filled production of the Neil Simon sixties show, Plaza Suite. His sure directorial skills steered three casts through the emotional rapids of American comedy with an eye also on the resonances for an Irish audience.
The work is studded with acerbic one-liners and this cast gave full measure to their emphasis as well as maintaining a cracking pace, without betraying the eventful outcomes.
In the darker opening piece about a wife trying to save a marriage, or her husband from an ulcer and his secretary, Colm Power recreated the nervous businessman with an eye on the bottom line, as well as the VPL. Patricia Harte had that grating kooky-voiced wife off to perfection and she was marvelous.
Stephen Griffin debuted as the Bellhop and he gave the part substance, despite a dodgy costume. Caroline O’Brien, as the secretary, also had to overcome a buttoned up blue coat. Costuming, set, props and door fittings, were dubious and in the second piece, a blue dress was a further distraction. Were most of the females doomed to blue outfits? Barry Comerford shone as the confused movie producer, seeking out a childhood conquest and Bernadette Comerford shone as the confused movie producer seeking out a childhood conquest and Bernadette Comerford was suitably irritating as the star struck old social friend.
In the final and funnier piece, Walter Dunphy was great fun as the dollar-conscious father of the bride and his work had great pace, variation and fine exasperation. Maria Clancy brought an excellent rapport to the wife and the audience recognized the predicaments very well.
Julie Hassett was the daughter who locks herself in the toilet before her wedding and the curious should google her character name, Mimsey, to discover another layer of American humour (try Urban Dictionary).