Plaza Suite by Interboro High School in Prospect Park, PA
December 6, 2016
Review submitted by Lexi Lugowski of Upper Darby High School
From failing marriages and faltering feelings to rekindled romance, Interboro High School’s Plaza Suite does a stellar job of covering a range of relationship mishaps with unparalleled emotion.
Originally written by Neil Simon, Plaza Suite is a comedic play composed of three acts, all of which revolve around the topic of marriage in the booming 1960s. The play is set in suite 719 in the luxurious Plaza Hotel with differing vignettes in each act. Within the stories, a wife and husband make a futile attempt to fix their loveless marriage, a wildly successful Hollywood producer tries to wow his old girlfriend, and a mother and father try to lure their daughter out of the bathroom on her wedding day.
Interboro High School’s main success was rooted in the impressive ability of each character to maintain the stage for lengthy periods. Each character, even the blunt and simplistic Bordon Eisler, displayed their intended emotions with ease, which helped fuel the three differing plots and create the desired comedic tone.
Wyatt McDevitt, who played the ladies’ man Jesse Kiplinger, helped to identify the play as to what it is – a comedy. His advances upon the indecisive yet intrigued Muriel Tate (Bailey Collington) were well thought out and expertly performed, as were Bailey Collington’s several rejections. Natalie Mancusso and Kevin Reeder, who hilariously brought to life Norma and Roy Hubley, stole the show, as they went through hysterical trials and tribulations to bring their distressed daughter out of the Suite 719 bathroom. From Kevin Reeder’s ripped jacket to Natalie Mancusso’s torn stocking, their acted out sequence of events certainly stunned the audience with laughter.
Aryonna Orth and Brian Stewart, who played alongside each other as Karen and Sam Nash, established the mood of the play very nicely, each of them portraying their scatter-brained characters in interestingly complex ways. At times, though, the pacing of their scene seemed a bit rushed. Bordon Eisler (Amir Herradi) received a well-deserved round of applause for his shocking advice to his soon-to-be-wife, as did the wife herself, Mimsey Hubley (Rachel Suga.)
With a simple set up, the sound, ran by Neil Hews, Brenna Malloy and Sam Collington, had no faults, with the exception of the minor mic pops that occurred throughout the third act. The tech crew themselves, ran by Taylor Neher and Courtney Floyd, went out on stage with ease.
Interboro High School’s Plaza Suite certainly did not disappoint, from their talented and comical cast to their notable tech crew.
Review submitted by Shelby Lenhart of Upper Merion Area HS
One room. Three acts. Three couples. Upon an inviting, cozy stage, these ingredients come together at Interboro High School in Neil Simon’s classic play, The Plaza Suite.
Originally premiering in 1968, Neil Simon’s play centers around suite 719 of New York’s luxury Plaza Hotel. The show provides an intimate, brief glance into the lives of three couples – the troubled anniversary of Karen and Sam Nash, the reunion of past-lovers Muriel Tate and Jesse Kiplinger, and the woes of soon-to-be in-laws Roy and Norma Hubley. Each act devotes the sole attention on the characters, often featuring only the pair as the focal point of the scene.
Act One began strongly with the exuberant, deluded performance by Aryonna Orth as Karen Nash, a woman blissfully ignorant to the strife of the world and the cracks in her twenty-three year marriage. Her fruitless attempts to revitalize a decayed marriage were highlighted by her unwavering commitment to a chipper demeanor.
Later in Act Two, Muriel Tate, played with no want for a dutiful, maternal sentiment by Bailey Collington, battles the attempts at seduction by ex-lover Jesse Kiplinger, played by Wyatt McDevitt. McDevitt embodied the bold allure of a 60’s Hollywood producer, a stark, tense contrast to Collington’s demure housewife who begins to lose herself after a few too many drinks.
The final act, a comedic triumph, was a glimpse into wedding day of the Hubley’s daughter, Mimsey, to young Bordon Eisler. As the bride-to-be suffers from cold feet and sequesters herself in the bathroom, Norma (Natalie Mancusso) and Roy (Kevin Reeder) must fight both their daughter and each other to salvage the costly wedding day. Mancusso and Reeder exhibited natural, flawless chemistry, as would a couple married for as long as the Hubleys. Their comedic timing was sharp, their characters vibrant and real.
Few ensemble members were featured, yet each managed to stand out. Their dedication to lines and creating real characters was evident, even despite the comedic nature of the play.
Sound cues were managed well, none falling out of place, and each effect felt organic to the scene. Actors, through the work of a meticulous sound crew, were heard with no issue.
One room with three different stories came alive on one stage at one high school with a true passion. Interboro’s production of The Plaza Suite is certainly one to “check out.”