The Spring 2000 production from Lucilla DS was Neil Simon’s popular three-in-one comedy, ‘Plaza Suite’. Possibly best known to most people as a film starring Walter Matthau, the stage version has a more immediate feel to it, bringing the audience directly into the suite of the Plaza Hotel where the action takes place. Suite 719 is the link between the three acts of the play, each complete in itself, but using the same setting, as three different sets of guests stay at the hotel.
First is Karen Nash, scatty and disorganised, determinedly middle-aged, desperate to revive her failing marriage by bringing her husband Sam to spend their 24th wedding anniversary in the same place they spent their wedding night. Sam doesn’t share her enthusiasm. He’s more concerned about his business - and his secretary. So the evening does not go according to plan they bicker and argue. Is 719 the correct suite? Are they on the right floor? Is it even their anniversary? And why does Sam have to leave for an important business meeting..?
Jesse Kiplinger, the second-act guest, is quite different. Smooth talking, attentive, a Hollywood film producer, he uses a well-practiced line in flattery and seduction on his lady visitor, a former teenage girlfriend from his hometown of Tenafly, New Jersey. Under the influence of several vodka stingers and Jesse’s persuasive technique, she overcomes her initial apprehension at meeting him again, until, gradually, even their solid suburban marriage doesn’t seem SO solid any more ..!
The final guests, Roy and Norma Hubley, are preparing for the wedding of their only daughter, Mimsey. The bridal bouquet lies on the table, the bride’s mother is ready to go; father is already downstairs, along with the bridegroom, his family and 68 guests - all chomping on cocktail frankfurters - but someone is missing. How can they have a wedding without a bride? Especially when she’s locked in the bathroom?
An interesting mixture of humour and pathos, Plaza Suite provides an evening of entertainment for most age groups. Taking part were Ann Birch, Wendy Stone, Alison Jones, Esther Matthews, Gordon Craig, Peter Mercer, Brian Williams, David Sumner, and David Lloyd. Directed by Bob Stone, it all happened at Crosby Civic Hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 9/11 March 2000.
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