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Prince George’s Little Theatre Don’t Dress For Dinner

By • May 3rd, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Don’t Dress For Dinner
Prince George’s Little Theatre
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through May 14th
2:15 with one intermission
$19/$14 Seniors and Under 18
Reviewed April 29th, 2011

Putting on a farce is hard. The actors practice, practice, practice. The director guides yells, cheers, cries, up until opening night when his work is done. Then you have opening night and now after months of rehearsals you have actors performing in front of a live audience who you hope are laughing at all the comedy both intended and otherwise, combined with having to learn where the audience will be laughing, and for how long. There were a few spots in Prince George’s Little Theatre’s Don’t Dress For Dinner when the actors talked over the laughter and there were some minor line issues and some circular delivery, but those are all things that will be overcome now that opening night is over and the rest of the run (with hopefully many more live audiences) is before them.

Husband and wife Bernard and Jacqueline (Michael N. Dunlop and Jill Goodrich) came across as a strong married couple. They were comfortable around each other and had a solid rhythm. Michael struggled with speaking over the laughter which made him difficult to hear on occasion. The ensemble cast also struggled with some lines, but that too can possibly be chalked up to some opening night jitters.

The other “guests” included Suzanne played by Christa Krosner, Robert played by Jack Degnan, Suzette (Rosalie Daelemans) and George (Keith Brown). Within ten minutes no one is who they are supposed to be paired with complete strangers, and this is why farces are so much fun. Degnan had a believable persona of a rundown, beaten man just wanting to spend a quiet weekend with “friends” yet ends up playing a multitude of parts and never 100% sure what’s happening. At one point he was asked to explain all the puzzles and gives a superb not so condensed, yet incredibly accurate version what he thinks is going on. Sexy Suzanne the mistress (turned cook) appeared to make herself right at home. Keeping up with the pace beautifully, Kronser kept the timing under control. Daelemans’s character as Suzette gave a believable performance. She let her hair down (literally) and exposed (almost literally) a wilder side that no one knew was there. Even though his part was not huge, Keith Brown as George had the best eyes of any of them. When he began to grasp what was going on the facial expressions were priceless! Farces may require some physical comedy which was performed with a realism not to miss.

Set Designer Dan Lavanga created a good strong set. The doors were sturdy as were the stairs. Lots of detail went into making the set seem real. Set dresser Roy Peterson brought in a whole bar complete with ice, glasses and drinks which lent a homey air to the French country home. The lights and sound were also well crafted and executed to make for a smooth opening night.

This was a well executed farce that will leave some confused, but everyone laughing.

Director’s Notes

Oh, those naughty French! They do such outrageous things! We can enjoy their exploits vicariously knowing we’d never be so bad. Of course, we love following the scandals of the rich and famous, the politicians and the preacher’s daughters, the sports star and the rock star-all so shocking. To quote Steel Magnolias, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit by me!”

There is great fun in watching people with all their foibles dig themselves in a hole and then try to escape. And farce has always provided a way to watch the world tumble down on someone with breakneck speed, while knowing that somehow it will all magically be restored in the end.

This is the first time I’ve worked with Prince George’s Little Theatre and I must admit I’ve found it to be a great experience. Everyone has been extremely helpful and worked very hard to support me and make the experience a pleasure. Most of the actors I’ve worked with before and they all have been very supportive, too. In many ways, farce is one of the most difficult forms to do well. Learning lines alone is a major task as many are confusing or are non sequiturs. Timing, body language, and physical comedy all add to the challenge. The cast has been wonderful and have made it a pleasure to put together. Thanks to the whole crew and especially to Andy for agreeing to produce (excellently!) for me again. And a special thanks to my wife, Cathy, for all her love and support.

But the most fun I putting together something that you, the audience, will enjoy. We bet euros to croissants you’ll find a lot to laugh at and to chase away the cares of the day. (And you’ll want to know, 50 euros is about $71, so a 5000 euro coat is… well, you can do the math!) Attention! Dinner is about to be served!

Randy Barth

Cast

  • Bernard: Michael N. Dunlop
  • Jacqueline, his wife: Jill Goodrich
  • Robert, his friend: Jack Degnan
  • Suzanne, his mistress: Christa Kronser
  • Suzette, the cook: Rosalie Daelemans
  • George, her husband: Keith Brown

Crew

  • Director: Randy Barth
  • Producer: Andrew Negri
  • Stage Manager: Linda Sellner
  • Set Design: Dan Lavanga
  • Set Construction, Master Carpenter: Eddie Arredondo, Roger Paradis, Patrick Ready
  • Assisted by Cast, Crew, Members, and Friends of PGLT
  • Set Painting Design: Heather Quinn
  • Set Decoration/Dressing: Roy Peterson
  • Lighting Design: Garrett Hyde
  • Sound Design: Randy Barth
  • Properties: Suzie Crabb, Karen Levay
  • Costume Design: Gayle Negri
  • Bowie Playhouse Technicians: Al Chopey, Pete Dursin, Garrett Hyde, Wally Kleinfelder
  • Transportation Chief: Keith Brown
  • Front of House Coordinator: Andrew Negri
  • House Manager, Playbill Design: Roy Peterson
  • Box Office Manager: Sarah Potter Robbins
  • Box Office Assistant: Richard Robbins
  • Lobby Display: Debbie Samek
  • Ticket Takers/Ushers: Members and Friends of PGLT
  • Publicity: Jenna Jones, Roy Peterson
  • Web Site (www.pglt.org): Kristopher Northrup, Pamela Northrup
  • Photography: Randy Barth
  • Program Cover/Publicity Artwork: Michele Stinson

Disclaimer: Prince George’s Little Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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