They say that “laughter is good for what ails you!”. This being the case, a good farce is absolutely the best medicine for all of us. No matter what we are feeling, or how much stress we are dealing with, a good farce will at least give us hours of distance from whatever it is that is on our minds, and maybe, will allow us to view the circumstances a little differently. It has been some time since I watched “Don’t Dress For Dinner”, Marc Camoletti’s look at a husband’s plans for a romantic tryst with his mistress. The production in Lake Forest is truly the serum for what ails you!
The play, written in French ,was translated into English by Robin Hawdon. Even though I have never felt the need to do the play with English accents, under the direction of Robert D. Estrin (who loves doing farce, and it shows), we do not lose the clever lines of the script. The story is simple, Bernard (the very droll Doug Schuetz) has invited his best friend, Robert (Guy Wicke, who has a great flair for comedy and is quite nimble), to come by for the weekend while his wife is off visiting her mother. Turns out, Robert is also an alibi for Bernard, who has also invited his mistress, Suzanne (Angela Carrington) for a special week-end.
All hell breaks loose when Bernard’s wife,Jaqueline (deftly handled by the lovely Elizabeth Rude) finds out that Robert is visiting as it turns out, she and Robert are more than good friends. Bernard has hired a chef to prepare the fabulous dinner for the evening and her name is Suzette(the very sexy and comical Hannah Williams, who pretty much steals the show), so when Robert is asked to put on a charade so Bernard can trick Jaqueline, and the wrong “Suzy” shows up first, it is one error after another that brings us to roaring laughter for over two hours. This cast of five major players and a sixth who comes in later to bring the ending to a point of understandability (George, husband to Suzette, the chef, or is she?, played to perfection by Derek Jeck). Each cast member does their part in making this farce work.
The set is designed with a great number of doors (all farces seem to have more than four) so Tianyu Qui certainly did what was asked of him. By the way, the furniture is amazingly practical and allows the actors to romp through their roles. Janice Gemp’s costumes are ideal, in particular the one where we get to watch Suzette go from waitress to bombshell as Bernard and Robert tear her clothes from her body to keep the action going.
I would have to say that the only drawback to this production is that Lake Forest is a long drive, but if you live in the North Shore or northern or northwest suburbs, it is certainly worth the trip, plus there is plenty of free parking. “Don’t Dress For Dinner” will continue through May 24th with performances as follows:
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 3 p.m.
There are two Wednesday morning performances May 6th and 13th at 11:00 a.m.
Tickets range from $35- $37.50 a great value for live theater of this quality and can be ordered by calling 847-735-8554 (discounts for seniors and students) or online at www.citadeltheatre.org
To learn what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Don’t Dress For Dinner”