Nathan Keepers in Fully Committed… again.
Critics really want to give a rave review. They must, because I can’t figure out why else three different Twin Cities theater critics would go to review a one-man-show that’s been done twice before with the same actor, the same director, and even the same set designer.
The show got rave reviews the first time around. And the second.
Surprise! This time around the reviews are, well, pretty much the same.
From Graydon Royce at the Star Tribune:
‘Keepers is back at the Jungle Theater with this one-man frolic and if anything the work is richer. He plays Sam, who is stuck in the cluttered basement of a four-star restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Sam is a phone jockey handling reservations, shuttling calls over to the chef and stamping out fires (or cleaning lavatories) with frenzied skill. At the same time, he juggles family calls, checks his voice mail account at Village Voice personals and monitors whether he got a callback in that big audition at Lincoln Center. For Sam — like 80 percent of the restaurant staff in New York — is an aspiring actor.’
From Dominic Papatola at the Pioneer Press:
‘It would almost be enough for an actor to successfully ping-pong among these characters, keeping each distinct. But Keepers does so much more. Sure, his cigarette-chomping shrieking as the angry patron Mrs. Sebag is priceless; so is his sibilant, terminally perky interpretation of a supermodel’s personal assistant and his crotch-grabbing take on the establishment’s top chef as a hung-over frat boy with a hair-trigger fuse.
But Keepers also is able to transcend the essential man-of-a-thousand-voices gimmick of the show. Throughout all of the chaos and machination, Keepers keeps his eye on the central story, delivering a highly ornamented but still clearly told story of a young Everyman who eventually figures out that it’s better to work the system than to get chewed up and spit out by it.’
And from Matthew Everett at TC Daily Planet:
‘This script isn’t just someone taking dictation, it’s been finely crafted. Over time, key callers emerge, vital information is slipped in but never as clunky exposition, and Sam slowly starts to wield the power that is being presented to him in order to get what he wants, in his career and in life. But it never feels manipulative or predatory. Since Sam is such a decent guy–evinced in how he interacts with all the people around him–we want him to win. It’s a great payoff for an audience to watch that taking shape, one conversation at a time, right before our eyes. Because the world of the script, inside and outside those basement walls, is so keenly observed in rich and funny detail, one good actor guided by a skilled director is all you need. For the Jungle, setting Keepers and Stangl loose on a script like Fully Committed is the equivalent of printing money.’
So, if for some reason you didn’t like Fully Committed – let us know! It would be a surprising change of pace.