By Beverly Creasey
Michael O’Halloran’s cheeky comedy, FISH FOOD (playing in Avenue Stage’s DOT 2 DOT space through this weekend only) is a delightful send-up of the hotel business. From management to bellhops, they’re all a little nutty, as one might full well expect after listening to the country’s first Hotelier-President carry on. O’Halloran writes from experience, having been employed at one of Boston’s tony hotels.
The play centers on a kind but naïve young man with a pet goldfish named Doris, hence the play’s title. He applies for a job as a waiter at a modest hotel which has just been acquired by a tycoon whose name recognition will give the establishment a boost! As O’Halloran wrote FISH FOOD well before Trump was elected, you can’t help but admire the playwright’s prescience.
FISH FOOD plays a bit like the adventures of Tom Jones, with Joe (a charming Desmond O’Halloran) learning the ropes mostly without the realization that he might be tied in to some shady knots down the line. Eunice Simmons is hilarious as his randy boss, a woman who keeps promoting him in hopes of reaping the benefits that she thinks ought to come with the territory.
Jennifer Jones is a treat as his larcenous grandmother and mayhem is provided by Molly O’Halloran as his new roommate. (She neglected to tell Joe that a frightening ex may return at any moment to reclaim his bed.) Peril (the funny variety) lurks at every turn and O’Halloran, who also directs, knows how to milk the jokes.
Geoff Pingree is endlessly entertaining as the frenetic sommelier who is highly insulted by having to perform duties unrelated to wine, specifically when banished to colder climes, sporting a huge fur hat to visit the hotel’s freezer. His partner in crime from a previous hotel is the slinky, German cabaret singer, deliciously played by Miss Mary Mac, whose Dietrich-like ennui is delivered in the sensational torch song with the chorus of “I just don’t care…” The characters are delectable and the laughter non-stop.
If you saw FISH FOOD at DOT 2 DOT this weekend, then you most likely sampled some of Chef Karen Henry-Garrett’s glorious food, including a bread and butter pudding to die for! Look for Avenue Stage’s next show and pay a visit to DOT 2 DOT in the meantime for Henry-Garrett’s exquisite desserts!