15 Vandam Street
Classic French farce is all about sex; classic American farce revolves around money. Peccadillo Theater Company's high-octane production of Murray and Boretz's Depression-era comedy, opening at Soho Playhouse after a successful summer run at the Bank Street Theatre, artfully builds reversal upon reversal on the bedrock theatrical question: Who's paying the bills? Gordon Miller (David Edwards), a proto-Max Bialystock, runs through backers as adroitly as he ducks hotel clerks on the way to staging his latest idée fixe, Godspeed. While the play's writer (Scott Evans) cheerfully accepts accolades, what little we hear about his American history pageant supports the more philistine appraisal by Mr. Wagner (Sterling Coyne), the apoplectic hotel supervisor: "It's a piece of cheese." Room Service's America is both more sharply observed and more grandly imagined. It may be a place where material interests trump ideals every time, as when Russian émigré Sasha (Louis Michael Sacco) auditions hilariously before the production team while they eat for the first time in a day. But it is also a place where art can be built literally on nothing; Miller's ceaseless hustling turns a financial house of cards into a triumphant production. The company, under Dan Wackerman's assured direction, hurtles breathlessly over the abyss, not once looking down.