Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Director Alan Paul has helped Story navigate capably through some 40 roles, each of which has a different vocal timbre and many of which have specific postures. Story also demonstrates his skill with accents and dialects including French, British, Indian, Midwestern, and the many gradations of the New York accent: cultured, tough, sneering, despondent, exhausted, aggrieved ... and on and on.
In the course of a single day shortly before Christmas, Sam (Story) works in the basement of a highly sought-after restaurant where people will try to get same-day reservations even though everything is "fully committed" (completely reserved) for the next three months. However, existing reservations may have to go out the window when Alan Greenspan, Malcolm Gladwell, andmost notablyGwyneth Paltrow with 14 guests want the opportunity to see, be seen, and spend obscene amounts of money in a temple of molecular gastronomy.
It isn't enough that Sam is basically working in hell as he juggles numerous exterior phone lines, the internal lines to the dining room, and the chef in the kitchen, and the cell phone he uses to keep track of his auditions (what he sees as his real career) and his possible trip home for the holidays. The restaurant is short staffed on this particular day, meaning that his supervisor hasn't shown up and Sam has to be ready for anything. (Cleaning the bathroom? Singing for a wealthy couple? No problem!)
Story carries it off with enough stamina to convincingly play exhaustion without actually being exhausted. Carl Gudenius' scenic design offers lots of amusing details, including the desperate attempts to bring holiday cheer to this grim underground space.