Review: Plaza Suite, Savoy Theatre

Plaza Suite proves a painfully inexplicable choice of play to bring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick to the West End together

“Just talk nicely and she’ll come out”

Being firmly #TeamCattrall and having been burned by a Neil Simon in this very theatre more than a decade ago, I’d no intention to check into Plaza Suite at the Savoy Theatre. The presence of real-life couple Sarah Jessica Parker (making a West End debut) and Matthew Broderick allowed producers to jack up prices to an eye-watering maximum too but the last minute offer of a freebie and a nice lunch beforehand meant I got to settle in to its final matinee.

Perhaps predictably, I didn’t get on with it all. John Benjamin Hickey’s production of this 1968 three-act play has so very little to contemporary audiences and beyond the dated material, it is also presented in a horribly dated manner, a desperate reach for slapstick feeling more like a reach for the lowest common denominator rather than any real sense of theatrical integrity or dramatic meaning – for all the alleged Hollywood glitz on show, this is hollow to its core.

Simon’s premise is the multitude of stories that must play out in the same hotel room, Suite 719 of the NYC Plaza Hotel to be precise. We follow the travails of three couples in different kinds of strife and as it is the 1960s, the misogyny is off the score. From unhappily married couples staring at a wedding anniversary to a movie producer trying to seduce an old flame from 17 years ago, not a single woman gets to be defined by anything but what the man next to her wants.

The final act is the most successful. A bride-to-be has locked herself in the bathroom and her parents do their level best to persuade her out, the physical comedy here proving the (small) saving grace as it gives us a little pause from the clunky dialogue. At this point in the run with so many tickets having been sold, it’s a bit like screaming into the void but for me, this is the West End at its worst – star vehicles coasting by on the shoddiest of material.

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