Thursday, April 05, 2012


Hutton Players at Brentwood Theatre

Since it opened in the Sixties, Neil Simon's Plaza Suite has never been short of bookings – its three playlets reveal a lot about human nature as three couples check in for a night in 719.

Hutton Players brought us a stylish, polished revival, with six seasoned actors taking the main roles.

From Mamaronek, Sam and Karen. He's a stressed businessman, almost certainly nursing an ulcer as well as lusting after his secretary, and he was played to the life by Paul Sparrowham, with Lindsey Crutchett outstanding as his fussy, voluble wife. Her phone call to room service was pitch perfect, and I loved the moment when her wig and her brave face were both discarded.

From Hollywood, famous producer Jesse [Mark Godfrey], and Muriel, nervous from New Jersey, an old flame who's finally sweet-talked into bed with vodka stingers and a red-carpet roll-call. This "uncorrupted woman" was the excellent Chrissie O'Connor, in a performance of great subtlety and pathos.

And from Forest Hills, parents of the bride Roy and Norma, played for all they were worth by Liz Calnan and William Wells – lots of physical comedy as he counts the cost and she goes to pieces.

Ray Howes directed, and also designed the opulent, colour-coordinated hotel setting.

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