“Welcome to hell,” hostess Dana (Madison Caudullo) says upon meeting brand-new waitress, Sarah (Gianna Lozzi), as the lights turn devil-red in RIGHT BEHIND, a play about a day in the life of a restaurant from the workers’ perspective. It turns out to be only one of about a half-dozen really nice moments in this new 70-minute one-act. Others include Sarah’s impassioned anti-Yelp manifesto, a scene where bartender Julian (Rocco Rosanio) counts off five customer “don’ts” on his fingers as they’re being committed, and, best of all, when an obnoxious diner puts Sarah on the ropes and her co-workers collectively act like Mickey in Rocky before sending her back into the dining room for the next round of insults/indignities.
RIGHT BEHIND reportedly started out as sketches of bad restaurant behavior that playwright/waitress/actress Lozzi later, and not entirely successfully, overlaid with the stories of Sarah and her co-workers. So the play can seem choppy. Other problems had to do with the Connie’s Ric Rac venue: Audience members seated in the last quarter of the narrow space saw only actor heads and shoulders. The place was also stifling — until someone turned on the air conditioning, making it hard to hear. You can’t blame Lozzi, her director-brother Freddie Lozzi or their talented cast for this any more than you would blame a waitress you liked for food that wasn’t cooked right.
And so in the tradition of nice restaurant customers everywhere, I am going to “tip” this play despite its problems. [Connie’s Ric Rac, 1132 S. Ninth Street] September 15-18, 2016; fringearts.com/right-behind, rightbehindtheplay.com
Photo: The Lozzis’ talented cast hangs out “right behind” their restaurant workplace.