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BWW Review: FULLY COMMITTED at Omaha Community Playhouse

A tour de force performance from Omaha native will leave you wanting more

BWW Review: FULLY COMMITTED at Omaha Community Playhouse

Anyone who has ever worked in any corner of the hospitality industry knows that customer service jobs can either be enriching or distressing, with the possibility of a rare moment that rests somewhere in between the two. I've personally worked as a cashier at a large retailer, an associate director of a dance competition, and oh so many consumer facing roles in the restaurant/fast food industry. So to say that I felt at times last night like I was watching some of my own personal interactions with guests on stage would be selling it short.

Meet Sam. A down-on-his-luck-but-oh-so-willing-to-stick-it-out-for-his-craft actor who works as a reservation host at a Manhattan hot spot sought out by the most VIP of VIPs. But if you want to make a reservation, be sure to call on the sixth of the month, three months before your desired reservation month because they will surely be booked up otherwise. But try telling that to VIPs, even if they are only ranked as such in their own minds. And on top of the wide range of customer calls Sam fields, not the mention his interactions with his rag tag group of coworkers helping to keep the kitchen and restaurant going, he has his own personal struggles he is trying to balance. He recently broke up with his boyfriend. He is anxiously awaiting a call about a callback for a role at Lincoln Center. And to top of it all off, he's struggling to ask for the time off to visit his recently widowed father over Christmas. Sam's night on the reservation line is full of hilarity, anger, misunderstandings, bribery, and sincere heartwarming moments that will take the audience by surprise.

Fully Committed, written by Becky Mode and now playing at the Omaha Community Playhouse, is a one act marathon for Omaha native Josh Peyton who takes on the role of Sam. Running ninety minutes from beginning to end, and with no other actors in sight, Peyton gives a truly tour de force performance as the dozens of characters the audience is introduced to during the show. With barely a moment to take a sip of water during the run, Peyton seamlessly shifts between the characters, using both vocals and body language to help convey the different callers he interacts with. Some characters are so distinct there was no need to reintroduce them simply because of the acting choices made by Peyton and the directing team. Whether it be Bunny Vandevere holding and petting her cat with a calm tone and British accent, the surfer-vibe cook who holds his chest and head back proudly while bringing to mind visions of Keanu Reeves in the Bill and Ted movies, or Sam's father who is hunched over with age and almost always looks to be smiling as he seemingly talks through his teeth, Peyton's character choices are strong and precise. An Omaha Community Playhouse staple, Peyton gives one of his best career performances in Fully Committed, and I would be shocked if he is not recognized for it come award season.

Led by director Jim McKain, no stranger to the Omaha Community Playhouse stage himself, and new director/OCP Director Fellow Brendan Brown, the creative team cohesively comes together to create a wonderful evening for theatre patrons. Lindsay Pape's costume choice is minimal and works well for the character. Darin Kuehler's farewell contribution to the Omaha Community Playhouse as properties master is solid as usual, with no detail too small to consider. Jim Othuse once again proves why he is one of the most respected scenic and lighting designers in the area with his realistic basement workspace that would make almost anyone feel claustrophobic and cut off from the rest of the world. And sounds designer John Gibilisco and stage manager Jeanne Shelton have their work cut out for them with more sound effects and cues than I believe I've heard in any other show before.

If you are looking for a shorter but just as enjoyable evening of theatre while supporting the local arts, I highly recommend making a stop at the Omaha Community Playhouse to see Fully Committed. That is, if you can get tickets. Tickets for the first two weekends are almost entirely sold out, and as word spreads I wouldn't be shocked to see the full run follow suit. The production runs March 19 through April 11. Tickets can be purchased over the phone at 402-553-0800, by visiting the box office at 6915 Cass St. (please call to confirm box office hours), or online at https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/fullycommitted/.

Disclaimer: Contains adult language

Photo Credit: Robertson Photography


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