Saturday, January 25, 2020

"Suite Surrender" Gets More Than Three Stars

The service is first class in this amusing hotel farce in which two pretentious divas are booked into the same suite. It has all the gasping, door slamming and misdirection you'd expect in this classic comedic genre, populated by stereotypes so exaggerated that the roles almost play themselves.

Tania Joy (as Claudia McFadden) and Jennifer McHugh (Athena Sinclair) are the two leading ladies who create fantastic caricatures of 1940's era USO songstresses, delivering complete performances of music, movement, multiple costume changes and sneering dialogue.

Gabor Mark (Bernard S. Dunlap) portrayed a heel-clicking yet beleaguered hotel manager with an amazing repertoire of attitudes and affects as he exchanged lines with his VIP guests and his fumbling, ingratiating staff.

Casting by Director Julie Price was superb, as the supporting actors all turned in boisterous, over-the-top, physical performances in parts that were nearly impossible to overact.

Suite Surrender is an excellent choice for the Elgin Art Showcase with its high ceilings and grand piano, set up with vases, velvet, and vintage decor that perfectly evoked the extravagance of a bygone era. Though the script may not break any new creative ground, its familiar trajectory is punctuated by a clever plot twist. No spoilers here!

Cross your fingers for another wardrobe malfunction — it's just the sort of unscripted element that perfects a comedy like this, in the hands of such skilled actors.

The show continues through February 9th at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division Street, Eighth Floor, in downtown Elgin. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. For reservations or more information, call (847) 741-0532, email or go to