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THEATER REVIEWS : 'Eat Your Heart Out' an Easy Play to Digest : The versatile cast of five deftly caricatures a range of personality types in the amusing dinner theater production.


Fast, funny, and using a small cast and minimal set, Nick Hall's "Eat Your Heart Out" has become a perennial dinner theater favorite.

Last seen locally in a Plaza Players production several years ago, it's the current presentation of Dinner Theatre at Ottavio's in Camarillo. Directed by Rick Steinberg, the show is a strong combination of event and location.

Charlie (William Terry) is a personable young man, intent on a stage career. Between assignments, which is most of the time, he waits tables in a succession of New York City restaurants, ranging from posh to working-class. While serving the food, he encounters a succession of customers.

Playwright Hall uses two gimmicks. First, the scene is reset by Charlie changing tablecloths and, maybe, moving around a couple of pieces of furniture. Second, the numerous customers and one other waiter are portrayed by only four actors.

This gives the four--Keith Hurt, Cheryl Talbot, Larry Gund and Elisabeth Reynolds--opportunities galore to caricature several personality types. Especially notable are Hurt and Talbot as a long-married couple, Reynolds as Charlie's potential love interest, and Gund as a persnickety customer in a restaurant called Tintinnabulation.

As Charlie, William Terry's main task is to remain amiable and slightly perplexed as he plays ringmaster to the various characters. That's harder than it appears, and Terry pulls it off well.

Even by dinner theater standards, "Eat your Heart Out" is a lightweight piece of material. But it's pleasant, amusing and--most important of all--easy on the digestion.


* WHAT: "Eat Your Heart Out."

* WHEN: Thursday and Friday nights at 7, through Nov. 18; additional performance Sunday, Nov. 13, at 5:30 p.m.

* WHERE: Ottavio's Banquet Facility, 340 Mobil Ave., Camarillo.

* HOW MUCH: $25 per person, includes show, buffet dinner, non-alcoholic beverage, tax and gratuity. Youth (12-19) $19.95; children to 12, $12.95; seniors $22.50 on Thursdays only. Open bar and wine available. Season tickets, group rates and fund-raising programs also available.

* FYI: Doors open at 6:30 p.m., dinner served at 7; show begins sometime after 8. For reservations or further information, call 484-9909.

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