Review: Plaza Suite


by Mike Matthaiakis

Sarah Jessica Parker makes her long-awaited West End debut in Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite“, a 1968 comedy that explores the complexities of marriage. Staged at the Savoy, the play consists of three separate acts, each set in the same deluxe hotel suite and featuring unhappy mid-life couples. Parker stars opposite her real-life husband Matthew Broderick, adding an intriguing layer to the performance.

While Broderick’s presence might not generate the same anticipation as Parker’s West End debut, their combined acting prowess, coupled with their longstanding marital bond, adds a unique dynamic to the production. The play’s popularity, evident in the extended run and high ticket prices, is largely attributed to Parker’s star power.

In the first act, Parker enters the stage as Karen, celebrating her wedding anniversary with her husband Sam in the same suite they honeymooned in. The character’s optimism clashes with her deadbeat spouse, played by Broderick, who dampens her nostalgia and heads back to the office, leaving her alone with polished rounds of rueful wisecracks. Parker navigates between adjoining rooms with finesse, portraying Karen’s crestfallen demeanor.

The second act introduces a more wildly comedic tone as Broderick plays Jesse Kiplinger, a thrice-divorced Hollywood producer attempting to woo a hitched hometown flame. The humor escalates as Parker’s character becomes enamored with his starry lifestyle, and the act unfolds in a sketchily silly manner. Broderick’s portrayal brings both amusement and a certain creepiness to the character.

The third act sees Broderick as Mr. Hubley, the exasperated father of a reluctant bride, unraveling with farcical precision. Parker’s portrayal of Mrs. Hubley adds flamboyant overdressed flair to the comedic chaos as they navigate the challenges of a wedding day gone awry.

Overall, “Plaza Suite” delivers a bank-breaking treat, with Parker’s superb entertainment value, Broderick’s versatile performances, and the play’s exploration of marriage complexities contributing to its appeal. The production’s success rests not only on Neil Simon’s humorous script but also on the chemistry and skill of its lead actors.

Plaza Suite is running at the Savoy Theatre until 13 April.