FULLY COMMITTED

* Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City * Written by Becky Mode * Directed by Nicholas Martin * Starring Mark Setlock

 
The first Off-Broadway hit of the new century, *Fully Committed* creates more tension than a James Bond suspense caper, and its more thrilling than a circus high-wire act -- and this is a one-man show were talking about here! Not just any one-man show, and not just any one man, either. Playwright Becky Mode takes us into the cruddy townhouse basement of a 4-star restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where a lowly reservations clerk fields calls all day from 17 varieties of hysterics, tourists, and V-V-VIPs who just have to have a table tonight at the trendiest eatery in town. This basement is one of the circles of hell Dante neglected to mention, and its sole inhabitant is Sam Pelichowski, an aspiring actor from South Bend, Indiana, struggling to support his addiction to auditioning for Taco Bell commercials.

The amazing Mark Setlock (whose previous claim to fame was understudying Angel in *Rent* on Broadway) plays not only Sam but every person hes in contact with by phone, intercom, and hotline. With no more than his voice and body language and an occasional lighting cue, he can be the coked-up maitre d Jean-Claude or name-dropping socialite Bunny Vandevere or high-strung Bryce! from Naomi Campbell! whos coming in with 15 people on Saturday night and needs an all-vegan tasting menu thanks a trillion!!

As crisis piles on crisis, you keep waiting for the whole thing to blow up or for Sam to scream Fuck you! and walk out. But the show is never that predictable. Mode and Setlock, who cooked up the characters together, and wizardly director Nicholas Martin have created a madcap comedy with a human heartbeat. Its all the more horrifying because you know this kind of insanity actually goes on day after day in the real world among people who probably ought to be fully committed to a mental institution.

The Advocate, March 14, 2000

  
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