Fun and Fierce, RLT’s "Don’t Dress for Dinner" Will Have Viewers Laughing Every (Mis)Step of the Way
Jenny Anglum and Rob Jenkins star as Jacqueline and Bernard at RLT (photo by Areon Mobasher)
Don’t Dress for Dinner is a sassy French farce, as well as a comedy of errors of epic proportions. And, Raleigh Little Theatre’s version, directed by Patrick Torres, lives up to the bawdy, hilarious nature of the original script by Robin Hawdon, which itself is an adaptation of a Marc Camoletti play.
The mishaps begin when Bernard (Rob Jenkins) tries to hurriedly usher his wife, Jacqueline (Jenny Anglum) out of the house. She is supposed to be going away, and he intends to “play” while she does. At first, it seems Bernard has only invited over his long-time pal, Robert (Michael Parker), who also happens to be (unbeknownst to Bernard), Jacqueline’s lover. The truth, however, is that Bernard has also invited his mistress, Suzanne (A.C. Donohue) over for the weekend.
When Jacqueline decides to stay home, Bernard convinces Robert to act as Suzanne’s partner. Unfortunately (and hilariously), Robert mistakes the cook Suzette (Tara Nicole Williams) for Suzanne. And, if you’re confused by that description, just imagine how the characters feel!
Raleigh Little Theatre‘s rendition of Marc Camoletti’s Don’t Dress for Dinner stars Michael Parker (left) as Robert, A.C. Donohue as Suzanne, and Rob Jenkins as Bernard (photo by Areon Mobasher)
Fortunately, Torres manages to clearly and artfully direct this twisted little story so that the audience is always in on the jokes. Strong performances, all played-out against a beautifully-designed French home set- complete with plenty of doors for hilarious entries and exits throughout- also add to the fun of the production.
The ladies here are the real standouts. A.C. Donohue pouts and fusses her way through her sultry portrayal of Suzanne, aided greatly by Vicki Olson’s fun costume choices. It is Williams, though, who is the true comedic standout. She plays the role of the befuddled, tip-hungry cook with gusto and warmth, making the character extremely likeable and daringly sexy in her own right. Parker plays off of her high energy by giving Robert an unconcerned, drunken air. The remaining two members of the cast play their parts well, doling out the script’s fierce wordplay perfectly, but leaving the true comedy to their castmates. It makes for a nice balance that keeps the script from being overly silly and that gives a surprising amount of depth to this usually just-for-fun farce.
All in all, there is a lot of fun and gusto in this hilarious production, which is sure to make for an enjoyable, if somewhat tawdry, evening on the town.
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