The British Players Don’t Dress For DinnerBy Laura & Mike Clark • Mar 19th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
The British Players: (Info) (Web)
Kensington Town Hall, Kensington, MD
Through March 24th
2:0 with intermission
$20 (Plus Fees)
Reviewed March 16th, 2013
Don’t Dress For Dinner is a farce by Marc Camoletti which the British Players made into an afternoon of laughter and comedic confusion. The cast of six had some pacing problems in Act I, but in Act II reached a comfort level and allowed the lines and laughter to roll right along.
Husband and wife Bernard (Peter Harrold) and Jacqueline (Kathryn Browning) have a seemingly happy if twisted marriage. Each has a secret lover. Harrold has excellent facial expressions that tell their own story as he desperately tries to keep himself from getting a) punched, b) divorced, c) maimed or killed. Browning is a strong match and keeps up with Harrold as best she can, which is sometimes difficult as he spins various tales throughout the evening. The two seem quite comfortable together and make a positive team.
Family friend Robert, played by Colin Davies, is an emotional actor. His timing is well-played and his fear (especially when it concerns his manhood) is believable. He also tries gamely to fulfill the part Bernard has for him when Suzette (Anne VanDercook) arrives. she soon learns she will have many roles to play during the evening including, but not limited to: a mistress, niece, wife, actor, and cook. Her part required some physical comedy that VanDercook created with flair and a range of overdramatism that was quite fun to watch. And all with a heavy French accent that at first was somewhat difficult to understand, but as the afternoon’s performance went along became much more comprehensible.
Houseguest #5 was Bernard’s mistress Suzanne, who also had a myriad of roles to keep straight. Some she was forced to play and others she forced herself to play. Vanessa Terzaghi created a character full of wit and sarcasm that she was not afraid to share when the need arose. She seemed to have the ability to bond with everyone in the house. Her timing was well done and her reactions to both good and bad situations were quite humorous.
Though a small part, George’s role proved crucial at toppling the house of cards built by the five at their dinner party. Michael Abendshein was very protective of Suzette. A big bear of a man, George quickly got caught up in the confusion and hilarity of the evening and attempted to carry out his own brand of justice by knocking some heads together. His physical comedy was well received though not by Robert and Bernard.
All six characters maintained their accents throughout the evening. Set Designers Albert Coia and Mike Lewis created a rather detailed living room with several doors leading into various rooms. Caroline Gelb, Chrish Kresge, Mary Rigney, and Joan Roseboom used color and elegance to make the space inviting. The lighting was somewhat dark in spots, primarily upstage, althought here were a few spots downstage that cast off shadows. Director Chrish Kresge kept the action moving. Don’t Dress For Dinner is a fun farce that lets the laughter (and confusion) run rampant for two hours.
How many times have you had an uncomfortable situation at a dinner party? Well tonight’s farce will set a whole new standard for you!
Don’t Dress For Dinner originally opened in Paris is 1987 under the title Pyjamas Pour Four. In 1991, the English adaptation by Robin Hawdon premiered at the Apollo Theatre and ran for six years. It is author Marc Camoletti’s sequel to his signature smash hit Boeing Boeing.
I have been blessed to have a very talented and hardworking cast and a production team that is the envy of any director – a huge thank you to them all. When I asked the cast how they would like the audience to feel when they left the theatre, they relied,”What an entertaining evening that was!”
We had enormous fun putting together this how, and I hope you will be bamboozled and entertained as you try to keep track of all the wives, husbands, cooks, mistresses, and lovers in this “delicate situation”!
Photos by Andy Simmons
- Bernard: Peter Harrold
- Jacqueline: Cathryn Browning
- Robert: Colin Davies
- Suzette: Anne VanDercook
- Suzanne: Vanessa Terzaghi
- George: Michael Abendshein
- Director: Chrish Kresge
- Producer: Caroline Gelb
- Stage Manager: David Jung
- Assistant Stage Managers: Mike Lewis, Devin Work
- Stage Crew: Nicola Hoag
- Set Design: Albert Coia, Mike Lewis
- Master Carpenters: Mike Lewis, Devin Work
- Lighting Design: Eddie Schwartz
- Sound Design: Benjamin Allen
- Set Dressing: Caroline Gelb, Chrish Kresge, Mary Rigney, Joan Roseboom
- Costume Design: Jamie Breckenridge, Joan Roseboom
- Properties Design: Mary Rigney
- Lighting Crew Chiefs: John O’Leary, Devin Work
- Lighting/Sound Crew: David Jung
- Dance Choreographer: Kay Casstevens
- Fight choreographer: Brian Dettling
- Programme Coordinator: Sara Kane
- Lobby Display: Nicola Hoag, Mary Rigney
- Technical Director: Mike Lewis
- Technical Advisor: Ed Eggleston
- Box office Manager: Sara Kane
- Business Manager: Gary Beaver
- Front of House Manager: Susan Frampton
- Assistant Front of House Manager: Margaret Lane
- Publicity and Public Relations: Chrish Kresge, Ed Vilade
- Graphic Design and Photography: J. Andrew Simmons
- Audition Desk: Jamie Breckenridge, Susan Frampton, Mike Gelb, David Jung, Sara Kane, June Nemeyer
- Front of House Staff: Sigrid Blobel, Danny Brogan, John Barclay Burns, Angela Cannon, Madge Darneille, Sue Edwards, Susan Frampton, Alan Gelb, Caroline Gelb, Pauline Griller-Mitchell, Adriana Hardy, Eileen Kent, Margaret Lane, Janet Leno, Frankie Lewis, Mike Lewis, Maggy McFerren, Dan Mitchell, Glenys Murell, Kim Newball, Elspeth Nunn, Susan Paisner, Maggie Skekel-Sledge, Carol Strachan, Jenna Sutton, Philippa Young
- Set Construction and Painting: Gary Beaver, Anna Britton, Lois Britton, Marla Bush, Albert Coia, Julia Frank, Caroline Gelb, Frankie Lewis, Mike Lewis, John O’Leary, Mary Rigney
- Special Advisor to the Producer: Kim Newball
- Artistic Liaison: Hilary Shostal
Disclaimer: The British Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/9254.
Laura & Mike Clark 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.