Sarah Jessica Parker makes her eagerly anticipated West End debut alongside husband Matthew Broderick in Plaza Suite, though fans hoping to see her break out of her mould may leave disappointed. While the couple deliver strong performances, the outdated source material by Neil Simon struggles to captivate a modern audience.
In Plaza Suite, audiences witness Parker and Broderick transform into three unique couples facing outlandish situations within the four walls of a swanky New York hotel in the 1960s. Sex and the City fans will see glimmers of a prototype Carrie Bradshaw, as Parker embodies a trio of women in frustrating relationships – including one who under no circumstances wants any anchovies on her plate, but ends up with some anyway (you’ll know the reference if you’re a SATC diehard).
Unfortunately, seeing Parker leaning into what could be an early version of her familiar on-screen persona is the biggest thrill of the show. Yes, there are mild laughs throughout – mainly down to the pair’s physicality, as they flounce and slide around the set – but the three separate storylines start to drag halfway through the first act, rehashing similar emotional territory without meaningful evolution.
“Plaza Suite fails to evolve past its dated portraits of discord in relationships”
Despite stellar acting from the pair, Plaza Suite fails to evolve past its dated portraits of discord in relationships. None of the three stories manage to feel fresh, with rather predictable explorations of suburban ennui, infidelity fears, and pre-wedding panic. All three acts come across as variations on the same theme, lacking the nuance and insight to make the ‘unhappy couple’ trope compelling.
Additionally, the characters follow predictable arcs without meaningful growth. Parker tends to recycle similar charms and neuroses across her roles rather than striking out in bold new territory – think Carrie Bradshaw in a (albeit stunning) Pucci dress and some flouncy hats. And while Broderick has the chance to show more range across each act, his characters are practically the same throughout. A real wasted opportunity, considering the talent and star power of the pair.
So is Plaza Suite worth catching? For dedicated Sex and the City followers, it delivers the chance to see SJP up close as she plays three swinging-60s versions of her best-known character. Yet, theatre diehards seeking an updated interpretation of this oft-revived Neil Simon comedy or a revelatory performance from the leads will likely leave disappointed.
Ultimately, the play relies on its A-list stars rather than presenting a fresh take on its outdated source material. Were Plaza Suite starring unknowns instead of Hollywood royalty, it would be hard to recommend on artistic merit alone. Outside of the most devoted fans of the pair, many may wish these stars had checked into a more modern and inspiring tale.
Plaza Suite is running at the Savoy Theatre until 13 April. Tickets are available now by clicking here.
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