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Fully Committed

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FULLY COMMITTED, at the Royal George Theatre Center. This is essentially a stand-up routine padded into a one-man play--a chance for an actor to display his virtuosity as he switches back and forth between various characters. Penned by actress-turned-Hollywood-writer Becky Mode as a vehicle for Mark Setlock, who starred in the off-Broadway premiere, the show has as its anchor Sam, a struggling New York actor working as a reservations clerk at an ultrachic, overpriced Manhattan restaurant. As Sam fields phone calls from irate or desperate customers and eccentric or overbearing colleagues, the actor playing him also portrays the folks he's talking to.

A show like this demands the intensity and whiplash timing of a Robin Williams or Jonathan Winters. Bronson Pinchot, starring in Daniel Goldstein's reworking of Nicholas Martin's original staging, is sometimes entertaining in his caricatures of a haughty magazine editor, a shrill gay talent agent, and the restaurant's snooty maitre d' and paranoid, foulmouthed chef, among other characters. But as the harried Sam is pushed to the breaking point, Pinchot never gives the evening the edge of lunacy it needs to be truly hilarious. Nor does he live up to the title's double meaning--"fully committed" is theater lingo for "completely in character" as well as restaurant slang for "booked solid." Still, anyone who's ever juggled phone calls for a living--or been put on hold for an eternity--will find something to laugh at here.

--Albert Williams

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