Underbelly Potterrow (Venue 358)
We all know Marcus Brigstocke as a stand up comedian and radio show host, but can he act? On the strength of Fully Committed, the answer is a resounding yes. This sprightly one-hander tells the story of Sam Peliczowski, an affable out of work actor who, for the moment at least, has the more mundane task of running the reservation phone lines at Manhattan’s most exclusive restaurant. We join him at the beginning of an absolute day from hell, when his co-worker has failed to turn up and Sam is left to run the show single-handed. But didn’t I say that this was a one-hander? Well, yes, because the trick here is that Brigstocke voices all the characters that Sam speaks to on the phone lines (40 of them in total) supplying their respective accents and mannerisms into the bargain. It’s a monumental undertaking and the script must have been a nightmare to memorise, but Brigstocke handles it effortlessly, giving us amongst others, a foul mouthed Bronx chef, an anxious female socialite and his own father. Most of the characters are American and the wonder is that the audience never struggles to know which character is speaking at any given point.
For the first few minutes, I wasn’t sure the play was going to work, but once into his stride, Brigstocke manages to convey the madness and anxiety of the situation spelled out in Becky Mode’s frothy script, snapping from character to character at lightning speed and as the demands on Sam become ever more frenetic, you can’t help feeling for him.
This is classy stuff and Brigstocke seizes the opportunity to extend his range. Catch it before it’s gone.