THIS HOTEL by Alex Poch-Goldin, directed by Kelly Thornton, with Brenda Bazinet, Randy Hughson, Veronika Hurnik, Alon Nashman and Richard Zeppieri. Presented by Planet 88 in association with Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson). Runs to May 27, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $19-$28, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
sharp, snazzy and sexy -- that describes the accommodations in This Hotel, Alex Poch-Goldin's Fringe hit now grown into a solid full production. A journey into the mysterious corridors and rooms that fill the mind of the cuckolded and indecisive Lester, This Hotel is a psychological spree of sadness and seduction.
Discovering his wife Arlene (Brenda Bazinet) with pickup Peter (Richard Zeppieri), Lester (Randy Hughson) trips out -- or maybe trips in is the better phrase -- and neurotically begins to sort out his life. The figures he meets in the metaphoric hotel of the title are aspects of himself, including the shape-shifting bellhop (Alon Nashman) and various amorous men and damaged women.
Kelly Thornton's first-rate production sizzles with heat in Steve Lucas's five-doored set (the play is at one level a dark contemporary farce) lit atmospherically by Peter Freund.
Hughson continues his string of strong stage portraits, adding powerful depth to Lester in his near breakdown late in the play. Bazinet is both a coldly sensual Arlene, herself troubled by the unhappy marriage, and the dreamily romantic Estelle, a Tennessee Williams waif.
Veronika Hurnik's conflicted Louise is alternately vamp and victim, while as the chambermaid Antoinette she offers Lester a ray of hope. Zeppieri is adept at sketching a number of figures, notably the insecure, closeted Monty. Presiding over this Jungian jungle is Nashman as Lester's internalized therapist, the goad who helps him come to some understanding, if not a clear resolution, of his problems.