THEATER REVIEW: “Fully Committed” @ Beck Center by Laura Kennelly

Fully Committed, now playing virtually at the Beck Center through November 29, offers a tasty mix of satire, comedy and truth. Co-created by Becky Mode and Mark Setlock, the short play, directed by Scott Spence, seems perfect for virtual performance. Neat and self-contained, it’s a story that relies on one character rather than set or other special effects.

And that character is our hero, Sam Peliczowski. Sam’s the only character we see, although at times, thanks to actor Nick Koesters, it may not seem that way. Koesters, more like a one-man orchestra than a one-man band, brings dozens of individuals to life as he plays —well, everyone in the 70-minute show.

Sam’s job-job (what one does to make living expenses) is at an exclusive and expensive Manhattan restaurant. He deals with the rich and famous, but there’s nothing glamorous about his work —answering constant calls about reservations and/or complaints. We hear the ringing of the phone and the buzz of the intercom in what seems to be a windowless space.

It’s a virtuoso performance for Koesters, who makes lightning-fast transitions from caller to Sam and back again. From greedy self-important callers who insist they are special to the chef who employs Sam, Koesters switches so fast it almost makes one dizzy.

 If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Koesters’ lounging against the wall as the chef, cleverly characterizing a fussy egotistical boss.

In addition to working at the restaurant, of course, Sam is self-employed full-time to get an acting gig at Lincoln Center. Some calls relate to that, especially those of his actor “friend” who calls to “support” him. He’s also juggling calls from family. Holiday season approaches and his elderly father would love to see him.

It’s a fast-paced, entertaining evening that reminds me in many ways of the wonderful characters first made popular on radio productions. Voice and imagination combined are all we need to tell vivid stories as Fully Committed illustrates, well, fully.

BOTTOM LINE: A good treat for a night in. No driving in the snow or rain, no parking problems, and no schedule problems either because each ticket offers a generous window to see the show. I’d suggest viewers settle down in a comfy spot, preferably with a favorite dish and a favorite drink before they dial up the Beck Center’s virtual production of Fully Committed.

[Written by Laura Kennelly]

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