“California Suite” Review – Enjoy “Suite” Fun at Skokie Theatre

Prepare for hysterics and laughter from the inimitable Neil Simon in “California Suite.” Produced by MadKap Productions, the comedy is being performed now through July 14 at the Skokie Theatre.

In the tradition of Neil Simon, “California Suite” shares the antics of four couples who stay in the same suite of rooms at the luxurious Beverly Hills Hotel, all at different times. Simon had great success with “Plaza Suite” in New York as well as London and continued this motif. This time, the year is 1976 and it’s fun to see the cultural references to that year – the celebrities, popular perfumes, and cocktails. On stage, there are feuding couples; drunken husbands and frustrated movie stars, all presented with the effortless comedic style of America’s undisputed master of comedy. The actors deliver a range of emotions – from deep-seated pain as well as clever lines that make you laugh and cry at the same time. Within the dialogue are some brilliant Simon lines such as “I think the two of you produced a hell of a mother” and “You are my refuge for disappointment.” All of the characters are “visitors” from different parts of the world.

California Suite stars Mitch Conti, Michael Dwiggins, Nancy Greco, Sarah Hazel, Brian Anthony Hoffman, Katie Incardona, Vincent P. Mahler, Elizabeth Rude, Susie Steinmeyer, and Tim Walsh.

Susie Steinmeyer is a standout as the caustic New Yawker Hannah Warren. While holding onto bitterness and what might have been, she tries to do the best thing for her daughter, who had run out to California to live with her father.

Susie Steinmeyer and Michael Dwiggins share a moment as a bi-coastal couple bantering about their daughter. Photo credit: Wayne Mell @MadKap Productions.

Tim Walsh as the husband trying to hide his little indiscretion from his wife makes all the right physical comedic moves. He has the audience in hysterics when he can’t get rid of the hooker and his wife discovers her.

                                 Tim Walsh, Katie Incardona, Nancy Greco must work through Marvin’s little indiscretion. Photo       credit: Wayne Mell @MadKap Productions.

Vincent P. Mahler and Elizabeth Rude have their own little secrets. Photo credit: Wayne Mell @MadKap Productions.

The British couple comes all the way from London to appear at the Academy Awards, where she has been nominated for an Oscar. Elizabeth Rude as Diana Nichols is in total despair both before and after the show as cracks in her relatiomship with her husband begin to emerge.

The last scene features two couples who have been traveling together on vacation for three weeks. Everything that could go wrong does and at that point, the play really descends into a farcical madness, leaving you laughing as you exit the show.

 Brian Anthony Hoffman, Sarah Hazel, Katie Incardona, Mitch Conti are the four bickering friends. Photo credit: Wayne Mell @MadKap Productions.

California Suite is directed by stage and film actor, Bernard Rice. Costume Design is by Wendy Kaplan, Lighting Design by Andrew Vanderbye, and Properties Design by Ellen Johnson.

Coming up next in the Madkap Production series is “Man of LaMancha” from September 7 – 30; “Proof” from November 2 – 18, ending with “Bonnie and Clyde” from February 8 – 24, 2019. See the full line up of shows and events on their website.

For reservations or additional information, visit SkokieTheatre website, or call the box office at 847-677-7761. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $34 general admission, $29 for seniors, and $24 for students. Skokie Theatre is located at 7924 Lincoln Ave in Downtown Skokie.

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