George Street Playhouse’s FULLY COMMITTED Cooks Up The Laughs — Review
I personally can’t recall the last time I dined inside a restaurant as we are now well into a year of quarantine. Even as vaccines slowly make their way into the arms of millions of Americans, the restaurant industry has been utterly devastated—save for takeout and delivery over the past 12 months. Picture, if you can, a trendy upscale Manhattan establishment on a bustling Friday evening: that is where we meet Sam (and an entire slew of other characters) in Becky Mode’s hilarious Fully Committed now steaming from George Street Playhouse.
The multi-talented Maulik Pancholy plays a down on his luck actor who has the helpless job of manning the phones to secure reservations for a collection of New York’s most elite socialites (and a few others). From crotchety maître ds, to pompous chefs, to even Gwyneth Paltrow’s assistant—she wants no female wait staff and custom lighting—Pancholy voices over 35 different characters in this 90 minute non-stop rollercoaster of laughs. The call from Alec Baldwin is a delightful nod to Pancholy’s time on NBC’s 30 Rock. A true tour-de-force performance for any actor, Pancholy is able to showcase his supreme vocal prowess with an astounding range of accents and dialects in this whirlwind of a piece that is marvel to watch.
The comedic one-man show premiered at the Vineyard back in 1999 before transferring to the Cherry Lane Theatre for an incredibly successful run. I missed the show’s Broadway production with Jesse Tyler Feguson in 2016, but in a way I’m glad this was my first foray into the play itself. Something about the cramped, claustrophobic basement office on camera made the performance all the more real and intimate.
David Saint’s direction is incredibly smart and digs deep into Mode’s lively and at times quite touching script. The set, with art direction by Helen Tewksbury, is filled with treasures that my eyes kept wanting to explore—add a Timothée Chalamet pillow and how can you go wrong. Michael Boylan’s cinematography and editing paired with Scott Killian’s original music and sound design help elevate the world of the play to the next level and deliver it right into our living rooms.
This is the second digital production this season from George Street Playhouse following Bad Dates earlier last month. It’s performances such as these which makes the case that classic plays no longer need to live solely on stage in this new digital era. Grab a glass of wine and nostalgize for the world of in-person dining with Fully Committed—hopefully we can return to that and live theatre soon!
“Full Committed” streams now through April 11, 2021. For tickets and more information, visit here.