Thursday, February 16, 2017

REVIEW: “Room Service”

Review of Taproot's "Room Service"
Nikki Visel, Erwin Galán, Laura Lee Caudill, Christopher Morson, Eric Hampton and
Daniel Stoltenberg in Room Service. (Photos by Erik Stuhaug) 


Taproot Theatre took a risk in promoting their latest play as a “Marx Brothers comedy.” Even though the play is a farce and was turned into a movie in 1938 that starred the Marx Brothers, the end result is more sophisticated than the crazy antics found in the movie version. The plot and much of the lines are the same, from what I can tell, but the stage play doesn’t feature Groucho’s rising eyebrows or his brothers’ silly shtick. However, don’t get the wrong idea, this is still one silly play, but one that is a lot more fun to watch.

Erwin Galán leads the romp playing Gordon Miller, a producer for a new play. He and his troupe are living and practicing in a hotel while looking for a backer for the play so they can pay their bills, if not, they’ll have to skip out, something this group has done before. Miller’s cohorts include his girlfriend and actress, Christine Marlowe (Melanie Hampton), fellow actor Faker Englund (Eric Hampton), and director Harry Binion (Daniel Stoltenberg). Miller and crew are getting pressure to cough up the money from hotel manager and brother-in-law, Joseph Gribble (Mike Spee) and his boss, Gladys Wagner (Nikki Visel). Adding fuel to the fire is Leo Davis (Christopher Morson) who is the writer of the play and has left his home without a penny to his name to join the group to embark on a new career.

Review of the play "Room Service."
Daniel Stoltenberg, Erwin Galán and Eric Hampton 
Tension rises and this drama team has to come up with the money that the hotel is owned or they will all be thrown in jail. Davis pretends to be sick so that the hotel can’t through him out. Bill Johns does a brilliant job playing four different roles including Sasha Smirnoff, a Russian actor who is also an inspiring waiter. Favorite Taproot character actress, Kim Morris, plays two roles including Sylvia Jenkins who represents a mysterious backer and Laura Lee Caudill makes her Taproot Theatre debut as hotel worker Hilda Manney who crushes over Leo.

While overall a clever play with many likable characters, the play does have one drawback. Stoltenberg, who was so good in Taproot’s Christmas play, The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, choose to play his role in an effeminate manner which really didn’t fit and was off-putting. Harry Binion owns a moose head and says that he killed the moose himself, which is something you can’t see Stoltenberg’s version of the character doing. Other than that, the play is a delight and one that you probably haven’t seen before, so go give it a try.

Room Service continues through March 11, 2017. More info>>>

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