Friday, August 5, 2016

Applause! Applause! Review of Theatre Box Of Floral Park's production of Michael McKeever's Suite Surrender at United Methodist Church Of Floral Park by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Theatre Box Of Floral Park's production of Michael McKeever's Suite Surrender at United Methodist Church Of Floral Park was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 6 (2016) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Suite Surrender
Written by Michael McKeever
Director: Daniel Bubbeo
Stage Manager: Karen Brucia
Theatre Box Of Floral Park
United Methodist Church Of Floral Park
35 Verbena Avenue
Floral Park, New York 11001
Reviewed 7/29/16 

Suite Surrender was first produced in January 2008 by the Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton, Florida. It is set in 1942 at the luxurious Palm Beach Royale Hotel where two rivaling divas will be performing at a USO show sponsored by the Palm Beach Ladies F.U. (For Unity) designed to entertain the troops enabling them to "let off steam." In the past, that "steam" took the form of a naked soldier with a lampshade on his head being taken out of the wall of the Presidential Suite but management seems willing to bear the costs especially when the father of the head of Palm Beach Ladies F.U. is the Chairman of the Board of the hotel. This weekend, the Palm Beach Ladies F.U. is sponsoring the Navy and hopes the Marines will also show up. Will there be bonfires in the lobby? Who will end up being thrown off balconies into the pool and will Mr. Boodles survive? How many times can Dora Del Rio, the local gossip columnist, be hit in the head and not suffer serious trauma? Will Murphy Stevens and Francis get back together despite his having had his pinky toe shot off? Can Otis truly "be seen" despite his constantly telling people, "I'm not here!"? Will Mr. Pippet find true love and is his attachment to the bouquet of red roses given to him some evidence he might be open to a relationship with the bellhop? What fireworks will result from the fact that the divas, Claudia McFadden and Athena Sinclair, have both ended up in the same Presidential Suite occupying different bedrooms without the other being aware of that fact? Can Bernard S. Dunlap, the Hotel Manager, find a solution before violence and bloodshed erupts or will he simply have a nervous breakdown? White Roses! Red Roses! Unconscious People! Two Bellhops! Two Diva Assistants! Five Doors! Anything is possible!

The entire cast of this production of Suite Surrender is excellent and they do the very best they can with the material. The play itself is not hilarious and leaves a lot to be desired but as light, entertaining fare on a hot summer evening, it serves its purpose and enables the audience to have a few good laughs. Helena Geberer Eilenberg shines as Claudia McFadden, a role she seems to have been born to play. Kerry Boyle holds her own as Athena Sinclair. Chris Murtha leads the cast in the main role of Bernard S. Dunlap, the Hotel Manager. He does a fine job portraying a man facing an impossible dilemma who does his best to keep the crisis under control with the help of his two bellhops - Matt Paris, a charismatic actor who plays Francis, and Peter Goike, a talented fellow who plays Otis (not really his mother's name). While Dunlap doesn't take the time to learn the names of his own bellhops because they are not very important to him, that same treatment is returned in kind when Athena Sinclair doesn't take the time to get his name correct. Matt Paris and Peter Goike have a good rapport on stage. I must add that Otis definitely should have been fired by the Hotel Manager for asking both divas for their autographs. It turns out the Palm Beach Royale Hotel may not be as upscale as they make it out to be. Adrianne Noroian is perfectly persistent and annoying as Mrs. Everett P. Osgood, the head of the Palm Beach Ladies F.U., and Liz Palladino is quite believable as Dora Del Rio, the gal with the poison pen. Melissa Virdone has a strong stage presence as Murphy Stevens, Athena Sinclair's Assistant, and James Basile is appropriately meek as Mr. Pippet, Claudia McFadden's Assistant. Given that fact, I was pleased to learn from the program, that for his own protection, Mr. Basile "has been known to puff his fur up in order to appear larger to potential predators."

The funniest scene in the play takes place when Mr. Pippet is fighting Francis demanding the return of the bouquet of red roses that was given to him. Mr. Pippet is on top of Francis on a couch, screaming "Give it to me! Give it to me!" When he saw that Claudia McFadden, his boss, was observing this awkward scene, Mr. Pippet says, "Oh, that's not good!" Finally, a hilarious line! 

You can catch the final performances of Suite Surrender on August 4-6, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for seniors (65+) and $5.00 for children 18 & under. Call 516-900-2031 for reservations. For more information, visit 

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