Qreview: ‘Room Service’ offers needed laughs

By Anita Raymon

At the intimate Whitestone Presbyterian Church on Sunday, the audience welcomed the chance to be able to laugh once again after the tragedy of last week's unbelievable events.

Theatre Time Productions presented the comedy “Room Service” by John Murray and Alien Boretz.

And laugh they did. This is a riotous, boisterous, rollicking comedy about a young playwright from upstate Oswego who arrives in New York City with a small suitcase of belongings and a vision of becoming recognized for his new work, “Hail and Farewell.”

Kevin Schwab plays Leo Davis, the hapless writer. Schwab was recently seen in “Godspell” at Queens College Little Theatre in the role of a modern-day Jesus. He plays each role, whether comedic, a religious musical, or dramatic roles such as Peter in “The Diary of Anne Frank, with commanding stage presence. His speaking voice is clear as a bell and his facial expressions are so mature and funny as this hilarious comedy of errors progresses.

Tara Palen Schwartz is Hilda Manney, the secretary at the White Way Hotel, where the mayhem takes place. Room 920 is the epicenter of the search for a backer of the play. Without an infusion of funds, the play will never see the light of stage. Palen Schwartz is well known in Queens community theater. We have seen her as Adelaide in “Guys & Dolls,” “Pajama Game” and most recently with Theatre Time as Josefa in “A Shot in the Dark.” She is talented, smart and attractive. Davis, the playwright, falls head over heels in love with her.

There are many comedians in the cast who have community theater experience. Jef. Lawrence was seen in the company’s “A Shot in the Dark.” He plays Gordon Miller who is trying desperately to keep his cast on their toes, while at the same time deviously lying to keep their rooms at the hotel. There is no money for food and board. In one scene, where the hungry cast desperate for anything to eat, are clandestinely provided with corn, salad, spaghetti and drinks consumed together as the Poet and Peasant Overture’s fast tempo encourages gobbling.

Sasha Smirnoff, the chef/waiter, desperately wants a part in the historic play.. Rene (Ray) Bendana with 22 years of acting experience is quite funny in his role. We love the Russian accent!

Dr. Glass, the hotel doctor played by the talented Steve Alleva, is manhandled, bamboozled, hustled into the bathroom when he comes to visit the supposedly ill Leo Davis. Alleva makes his debut with Theatre Time and can be seen in upcoming episodes of Third Watch on NBC TV.

Armand Catenaro (Simon Jenkins) plays the agent of the supposed backer of the play. Jenkins is a very nervous gentleman who represents the savior of the play who will give them $15,000. He appears to be genuine — but is he?

Two great bumbling hotel employees in this comedy are Louis V. Fucilo (Joseph Gribble) and Kevin F. Ryan (Gregory Wagner). Both play off each other as the director and manager of the failing hotel. These experienced actors are confronted by one disaster after another, but end up saving the performance in the Hotel Theatre in spite of themselves. Think of Abbot and Costello movies — confusion and hilarious misspeaking

The large cast includes Faker Englund (Joseph Scheweigert), a deliciously devious actor; Chritine Marlowe (Julianna Blunt), a beautiful redhead, Timothy Hogarth (Jonathon Applebaum), a credit collector; a bank messenger played by Abe Ber, and Southern Senator Blake (Ray Palen) who finally saves the day!

“Room Service” was produced by the team of Judy Vincent and Kevin C. Vincent, who directed all the zaniness of this hilarious comedy.

Assistant director is Kristine Miller, and Abe Ber and Kristine Miller are the set designers.

“Room Service” will be presented on Friday and Saturday evenings, Sept. 21, 22 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church at 15th Avenue and 149 Street in Whitestone. Reservations 24 hours at 718 391 8697.

Reach Qguide writer Anita Raymon by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

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