Using witty wordplay and perfectly timed slapstick, John Murray and Allen Boretz’s 1930s play Room Service turns a critical eye on the ever-raging war between the world of creativity and the world of finance. The action begins (and remains) in a modest hotel room. The hotel manager enters, demanding payment on the bill from Gordon Miller, the producer of a play whose assistant, director, writer, and cast have been living in the hotel on credit. The penniless Miller cooks up a plan to skip out, but is prevented from doing so when he learns that a potential backer has been scheduled to visit him there the following day. From then on, it’s a battle of wills between the artists who want their play and the businessmen who want their money.
The cast of Room Service deftly navigates the plot’s twists and turns with exuberant acting and comedic precision. In one scene, a hotel waiter smuggles in some much-needed food in exchange for an audition. While they’re eating in the actual play they’re reading lines from the play-within-the-play. The actors make the confusion part of the farce. The cramped set also serves to highlight the cast’s energy, both by thrusting all of them onstage at their most excitable moments and making sure the walls are strong enough to support many a healthy door-slam when they leave. Surprisingly, the play’s deeper implications continue to stand up, too: although a war of sorts is being fought, it’s still nice to have a good time.