Plaza Suite

August 21, 2018 | By | Reply More

★★★☆☆      Erratic comedy

The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241): Mon 20–Sat 25 Aug 2018
Review by Hugh Simpson

The Edinburgh Makars’ production of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite at the Royal Scots Club has considerable comic appeal, even if it takes some time to materialise.

The portmanteau play from 1968 features three acts connected only by their location in a suite in a luxury New York hotel.

Plaza Suite Act 1 Carol Davidson as Karen Nash, Georgia Smith as Miss Jean McCormack, Mike Appleby as Sam Nash

Carol Davidson, Georgia Smith and Mike Appleby. Pic: Edinburgh Makars

The opening act – where a wife tries to rekindle the passion of her husband by returning to the scene of their honeymoon – has long been regarded as the least funny or effective. Furthermore, time has decidedly not been kind to it, as Sam Nash’s attitude to his wife Karen seems appalling to a modern audience.

This section is not helped by being played at a funereal pace, with what humour it contains being drained as it clocks in at a full hour. Carol Davidson and Mike Appleby are thoroughly convincing as the couple, but this simply makes Carol appear more pitiful and Sam more of a heel. With a speedier, more wisecracking approach this would make more sense.



Fortunately, director Margaret Milne picks up the pace considerably after the interval. The story of film producer Jesse Kiplinger meeting his old girlfriend Muriel, and getting more than he bargained for, has something of a throwaway feel but is performed with charm. Anton Hiett’s Jesse is every inch the smooth Hollywood operator, while Giulia Frontalini gives Muriel an appropriate humorous sheen.

comic skill

The final act is the most successful, as Therese Gallacher and Derek Melon negotiate the farcical tale of the Hubleys, another less than happily married couple, with real comic skill. With their daughter, reluctant bride Mimsey, refusing to come out of the bathroom, their efforts to coax her out take on an increasingly desperate air. Melon’s barely contained exasperation and Gallacher’s resigned frustration are both very well done.

Plaza Suite Act 2 Giulia Frontalini as Muriel Tate, Anton Hiett as Jesse Kiplinger

Act 2: Giulia Frontalini and Anton Hiett. Pic Edinburgh Makars

Georgia Smith and Artus Uroda both make telling cameos in this act, as they and Alan Melon also do in the first.

The playing area in the Hepburn Suite is notably well used, and there are some outstandingly tasteless period-specific costumes.

The play now seems in many ways a curio, with many of its attitudes appearing to come from more than half a century ago. Without the often-used device of having the same performers playing the lead roles in two or more of the acts, it does not hang together that well. Nevertheless, this production eventually warms up into an enjoyable comic excursion.

Running time 2 hours 30 minutes including one 15 minute and one 5 minute interval
The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241), 29-31 Abercromby Place, EH3 6QE
Monday 20 – Saturday 25 August 2018
Daily at 8.30 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/plaza-suite
Company website: http://www.edinburghmakars.com/about.html
CompanyFacebook: @edinburghmakars

Plaza Suite Act 3 Georgia Smith as Mimsy Hubley, Derek Melon as Roy Hubley and Therese Gallagher as Norma Hubley

Act 3: Georgia Smith, Derek Melon and Therese Gallagher. Pic: Edinburgh Makars.

ENDS

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