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November 21, 2006 > “Fully Committed” an impressive one-man band

“Fully Committed” an impressive one-man band

by Julie Grabowski

The Broadway West Theatre Company concludes their tenth season with a good dose of humor in Becky Mode’s one-man show “Fully Committed.” The play reveals a day in the life of Sam, an out-of-work actor who finds himself the lone reservations agent for a wildly popular four-star restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. In a rather shabby basement office with a sickly green wall and bits of Christmas garnish spread about, Sam deals with a barrage of callers eager for reservations, as well as the demands of his boss, Chef, and various co-workers. He also anxiously awaits news on the outcome of an audition, as well as the possibility of getting off work to go home and spend Christmas with his father.

Sam is a pitiable guy upon introduction; your typical nice guy whose personal and professional prospects look slim and who people are always taking advantage of. Troy Johnson plays the harried reservations agent with warm humanity and humor, engaging the sympathies of the audience, and especially those who have experienced the trials of customer service first hand. Johnson also inhabits an additional thirty-six colorful characters with an almost breezy ability, sliding between dialects, genders, and age in an uninterrupted energetic performance. Johnson employs particular gestures and postures for each character, creating distinct and vivid personalities that belie the one-man reality. He seemed to momentarily lose his place among the quick exchange of characters on a few occasions, but never broke the taut pace of the play.

From the bevy of entertaining characters there are a few standouts: the over-caffeinated Bryce from Naomi Campbell’s office, the overwrought Mrs. Seabag on her lost reservation, casually boastful fellow actor Jerry Miller, Stephanie, the endearing British co-worker, the persistently impatient Carolann Rosenstein-Fishburn, and senior citizen Judith Rush, determined not to be taken advantage of. Johnson is delightful to watch and extremely adept in his astounding number of roles, making “Fully Committed” an enjoyable escape.

Broadway West offers a unique theatre experience with their intimate and homey atmosphere. The theatre feels like someone’s family room with its flowery upholstered seating and surrounding dÈcor. The family feeling increased when director Paula Chenoweth appeared to open the show and her good evening was chorused back like a third grade classroom. Broadway West gives theatre a jovial community air and already has a diverse line up planned for the New Year designed to encompass all tastes. Begin your Broadway West experience this holiday season with “Fully Committed.”

Performances run from November 17 through December 16, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; three Sunday matinees will be held at 1 p.m. A continental brunch will be offered before the November 26 and December 3 performances at 12:15. The December 10 performance will have English tea, sandwiches, and scones available. Ticket prices are $20 general admission, $15 for students and seniors; Thursday shows are $15 for everyone, and $20 for everyone attending on Sundays. Refreshments are included in all ticket prices. Call (510) 683-9218 for reservations or further information.

“Fully Committed”
November 17-December 16
Broadway West Theatre Company
4000-B Bay Street, Fremont
(510) 683-9218

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