Reviewed by Wendy Mildren
100 Lunches, written by Jack Sharkey and Leo W. Sears, and directed by Jude Hines, the Rep’s latest production, was touted as being deliciously funny, however, on opening night it fell a little flat.
Chuck Reynolds (Rodney Hutton) is a successful playwright, who has just had the opening of his latest show, and is waiting for the reviews. Charity Starr (Theresa Sugars) is a critic who has slammed each and every one of Chuck’s plays. The review for his latest one is her most vicious and Chuck is furious. His housekeeper, Glinda Bellows (Myra Waddell) and his son, Terry (Benjamin Maio Mackay) do their best to bolster Chuck’s battered ego. To everyone’s amazement Charity arrives on Chuck’s doorstep wanting to be taught how to be a playwright. Chuck decides that he can get his revenge by only teaching her whilst they eat out, at her expense.
Both Hutton and Sugars had their dialogue down, but neither really developed their characters. Their pace was good but, again, not convincing. Benjamin, who is only 12 years old, had a pivotal part in the play, and his American accent was good and maintained throughout the play, but his pitch made his dialogue indecipherable. Waddell, as the housekeeper, was excellent, but needed more volume.
The show stealer was Barry Hill, who played the waiter in all seven restaurant scenes. He was great as Wally, in Wally’s Wiener World, and in Pierre’s Palace de Pompe. Yolanda (Joanna Patrick) as the ditched girlfriend was very good, her dialogue was clear and her accent was in place throughout.
The hero of the show was the set, which was brilliantly devised and all scene changes took place with the minimum of delay. The blocking by Hines was effective, as was the lighting and sound effects. The entr’acte music was very loud and extremely discordant, which set the teeth on edge rather than preparing the audience for the next scene.
Overall, the small but enthusiastic audience on opening night enjoyed the show.