Fully Committed

Rated 5.0 Restaurants are like theaters: You should never let the customers see the crazed chaos behind the curtains. But, truth be told, sometimes it’s entertaining to peek backstage at the dysfunctional yet highly entertaining world of putting on a show—or dinner in the case of Fully Committed.Fully Committed, the Sacramento Theatre Company’s current production, takes us through the swinging doors and into the basement of a four-star New York restaurant. Our tour guide into the culinary confusion and demanding upscale clientele is Sam, the man who guards the reservation list while dealing with the restaurant’s crazy celebrity chef.

Above all, Fully Committed is a vehicle for a one-man tour de force. Los Angeles-based actor Matt K. Miller (seen locally in previous STC productions) masterfully portrays more than 40 different characters in this solo show—sometimes changing personalities and accents within nanoseconds.

Miller plays Sam, an actor-in-waiting who’s constantly juggling the reservation list for a dining room booked two months in advance. Miller also portrays the pushy patrons begging and lying for a table, the chaotic kitchen staff and the cantankerous chef Claude. Miller deftly handles the arduous task of keeping all the plates spinning in air, as he shifts from Naomi Campbell’s personal assistant to socialite Bunny Vandevere, from a senior citizen who wants an AARP discount to a sentimental portrayal of Sam’s father.

There are no margins of error in this piece as accents and lines whiz by and as the dialogue is delivered and answered by the same actor who, all the while, sprints back and forth across the stage to answer incessantly ringing phones and intercoms. It’s a good thing Miller comes armed with timing, talent and a good pair of running shoes.

This is a short piece—75 minutes, which is just the right length because the pace never lets up and threatens to overload into a high-pitched frenzy. With eight shows a week, Miller won’t have much free time to explore our fair city, but here’s hoping he’ll check out Sacramento’s finer restaurants, with our versions of half-crazed chefs and the demanding clientele including minor local celebrities, political wonks and wannabe society climbers.