Monthly Archive for: ‘November, 2013’
DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER: Sexual Farce by Marc Camoletti, adapted by Robin Hawdon and directed by Michael Butler. Center REPertory Company 1601 Civic Drive in downtown Walnut Creek. 925-943-7469, or www.CenterREP.org. . October 29 – November 23, 2013
DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER a four door farce at CenterREP Rating: (5/5 Stars)
Don’t Dress for Dinner is being pedaled as “brilliant sequel to REP’s hilarious and stylish sold-out hit, Boeing-Boeing.” Unfortunately this reviewer did not see that show or any other production so this review is strictly based on what transpired on the stage on Halloween Night. It is a classic farce with the obligatory minimum of four doors and is directed at breakneck speed with more than sufficient physical shtick to supplement the hilarious misunderstandings that build and build until even the actors may be confused about who is doing what to whom.
Amongst his many other laudable directorial attributes Michael Butler is a master at directing farce. He has taken a mediocre convoluted play, populated it with a superb cast and added directorial conceits to create a laugh filled evening. The popularity of Don’t Dress For Dinner is attested by the fact that after a two year run in France Camoletti’s play was adapted for the English stage and had a six year run in London. The only connection to Boeing,-Boeing are the male leads Bernard (Liam Vincent) and his best friend Jack (Cassidy Brown).
The time has shifted from 1960 to 1970 both the miscreants are still up to their nefarious ways. Bernard is married to a hot bodied Italian Gabriella (Nika Ericson) and they live in a converted chic modern French farm house (terrific set by Eric Flatmo) and he has a mistress Suzanne (Brittany Danielle). In the original play the wife was French named Jacqueline and one can assume that director Butler could pump more energy into the play with a more volatile wife and he does.
Gabriella is about to go visit her mother. While she is away the sneaky Bernard has planned a birthday party for Suzanne. Robert has been invited to the party. A Cordon Blue chef named Suzette (Lyndsy Kail) has been hired from an agency to prepare the dinner. This will cause great confusion when both Suzanne and Suzette respond to the diminutive “Suzi.” Confusion will be compounded when Gabriella intercepts telephone call discovering that Robert is coming. She, come hell or high water, is not about to go visit dear mama because Robert is her lover.
When Suzette arrives Robert assumes she is Suzanne and in short order she is conned (for two 100 franc notes) to go along with the charade. When dumb blonde sexy Suzanne shows up, [wearing a very expensive coat that is integral to the plot] she has to pretend to be the cook but she is more of a short order cook rather than a Cordon blue chef.
There are the obligatory four doors needed before a play can be a farce. The country house is actually a converted barn with the two spare bed rooms that were formerly a cow stall and piggery. That detail gets a lot of guffaws when decisions must be made as to who will sleep with whom and where.
Liam Vincent creates a marvelous priggish Machiavellian Bernard who gradually uses all those around him to cover up his misdeeds. Nika Ericson’s incendiary Italian has perfect control hiding her own peccadillo with consummate composure and controls the stage when it is time to play the “wronged wife.” Amongst the female roles, Lyndsy Kail is the audience favorite morphing from an ordinary girl to a seductive model, to niece actress or to whatever is needed for the cover-up earning every franc proffered by the two timing men. The audience burst into applause when she is stripped of her maid costume to play the role of mistress. Brittany Danielle is completely believable as the not too bright sexy Suzanne.
The major accolades belong to Cassidy Brown with his mobile face, elastic body that would get him a job in Comedie del Arte, and his superb double takes. Khary L. Moye adds a touch of class with his underplayed depiction of a possibly wronged husband and can be considered a deus ex mechina. No further explanation will be given.
A brilliant directorial touch involves a large, low fuzzy white ottoman downstage center where Butler gives every member of the cast time to cavort. Although he uses broad comedy just short of slapstick there is directorial sophistication and intricate timing to obtain maximum humor from the script. Running time two hours with intermission.
Production Crew: Set Design by Erik Flatmo, Lighting Design by Ray Oppenheimer, Costume Design by Maggie Morgan, Sound Design by Matt Stines, Stage Manager Kathleen J. Parsons*
Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com
Nika Ericson*,Lyndsy Kail*, Khary Moye, Brittany Danielle*
Cassidy Brown*, Lyndsy Kail*