Theatre Review: FULLY COMMITTED at Delaware Theatre Company

Delaware Theatre Company is Fully Committed!

Fully Committed by Becky Mode opened at the Delaware Theater Company to the delight of the opening night crowd.  Fully Committed is a one man tour de force about a struggling actor who moonlights as a reservations clerk in a very high-end New York restaurant.

Delaware Theatre Company’s 2018 production of Fully Committed. Written by Becky Mode, directed by Kathryn MacMillan, starring Kraig Swartz. Photo by Matt Urban.

Kraig Swartz, a wonderfully talented local actor, plays all 40 characters in this fast paced, one act, timely indictment of the way that people treat each. I saw Swartz in the same role at Philadelphia Theater Company’s production in 2002.  It was wonderful then.  This production is an updated version.  Playwright Mode adds the use of cell phones although does not acknowledge the Internet.  Naomi Campbell is replaced by Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Mirren.  She updates the cuisine to “molecular gastronomy,” whose appetizers include “frozen polenta with honey mastic” while entrees contain such specialties as “crispy deer lichen atop a slowly deflating, scent filled pillow with edible dirt.”  All the changes enhance the freshness of the show.

Swartz inhabits the person of Sam Peliczowski, an unemployed actor who makes ends meet by manning the reservation desk for Manhattan’s number one restaurant.  It is right before Christmas, and the demand for reservations is at its peak.  Sam finds himself without his obnoxious coworker, worrying about his recently widowered father, and angsting over a part he hopes will launch his long delayed acting career.  There is also a clear undercurrent of how the 1%ers use and abuse those who serve them.

Into this pressure filled mess comes a fascinating collection of customers and coworkers.  Sam must balance the phone calls, requests, and impositions placed on him by his coworkers.  The next 100 minutes becomes a collage of captivating characters all skillfully delineated by Swartz.  With uncanny ability to create a clearly identifiable character, Swartz rumbles through the myriad of people and situations.  He affects his voice and uses body language to help draw out the many characters.  He is probably funniest when interacting with his coworkers.

Directed by Philadelphia stalwart, Kathryn MacMillan, Swartz gets the nuance of the characters without being over the top.  It is easy to recognize the influence of such a gifted director.   Additionally, she has assembled an incredibly skilled support team. Dirk Durossette designed a set that beautifully evokes the practical if not neglectful domain of the reservations clerk.  It is splendidly complemented by Lily Fossner’s lighting design.  As Sound Designer, Toby Pettit has the challenge of creating perfectly timed effects.  He does so with impeccable accuracy.  Janus Stefanowicz’s costumes and Props by Mark Williams also accent the sense of being in his world.

Fully Committed plays until Sunday, November 4th.  For tickets call the Box Office at 302.594.1100 or go to their web site at www.delawaretheatre.org.  When news in the world gets depressing, Fully Committed offers a wonderful 100 minutes of fun.

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