Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Granite Theatre's current show is the British farce, "Don't Dress for Dinner". This show is about Bernard planning an initimate weekend with his mistress. Unforunately his wife, Jacqueline, stays in town and his best friend is secretly having an affair with her. Throw in two cooks, mistaken identities and some fantastic slapstick routines and you have the madcap comic romp that follows.
Veteran director, Gary J. Sullivan leads his cast through hilarious moments that leave the audience roaring with laughter. The constant spilling drinks, stomping on bugs, face slapping are wonderful to watch. He directs the show with a deft hand wringing alot of the farcial situations the characters meet. Stage manager, Ali Cruso keeps things running smoothly while running the lights and the sound. The set by artistic director, David Jepson, is a comic delight. His converted London barn with various rooms called the piggery, the cow shed and the hen coop are well used in this two level setting leading the performers a chance to enter and exit through 5 different areas. Wonderful job by Gary, Ali and David make for a delightful evening.
Dan Healy plays Bernard with a perfect British accent. He is as adept at comedy as he is at drama having played Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol". Dan delivers the dialogue crisply and keeps things moving with his physicality. He is a very dynamic actor who always delivers the goods. Kelly McGovern plays Jacqueline, the whiny bitchy wife. She finds out about her husband's infidelity and is furious about it while she is doing the same thing. She treats the other characters with a tongue lashing while mistaking what is happening around her. Kelly plays this unsympathetic character making the audience feel Bernard's painful situation. She sprays the two men and the cook in a very funny scene in the second act.
Keith Eugene Brayne who is a John Lithgow lookalike and actalike plays the the other man in Jacqueline's life, Robert. Keith is a whirling dervish on the stage running to and fro to escape being beaten up or castrated by a jealous husband. He has some wonderful facial expressions and his delivery of rapid fire dialogue is priceless. The biggest scene stealer in this show is Jennifer Kolonick as Suzette. She is hilarious as the cook who is mistaken for the mistress. Jennifer delivers her lines perfectly whether in proper or lower class British. Her facial expressions are priceless as are her drunken scenes and her hiding of the hush money down her blouse. The funniest moment in the show is when the two men rip her maid outfit off and pull up this tiny black skirt to transform it into evening attire. Jennifer is a joy to watch from start to finish and her exit with a full length sable coat caps off this wonderful performance.
Courtney Leivers plays Bernard's mistress, Suzanne. She is a statuesque, well endowed blonde and she makes the dumb bimbo role come alive. Courtney struts around on high heels while making or I should say, ruining dinner. She shows the jealous streak of the character when she slaps Bernard four times. Courtney plays this dimbulb beautifully. Last but not least is Greg Blivens who plays the enormous, physically threatening character of George. Although he enters late in the second act, he delivers a powerhouse performance and keeps the crowd laughing at how the situation gets resolved. Greg is great in this role and his interactions with the others is topnotch.
Another highlight of opening night festivities goes to caterer, Lorain Simister who makes many different foods to fit the current production. Among the treats of this evening were marinated artichokes veloute (a delicious artichoke soup) and fromage a' trois souffle plus so many other foods, if listed here would be longer than the review. Lorain runs Lor Concierge, catering firm, call her at 401-596-9685, tell her Tony sent you. You won't be disappointed. Her associate, Kim runs Kimberly jones Confections. She makes some of the best candy you ever tasted especially the dried apricot chocolates. Her candies disappear so quickly from the buffet table, you have to be fast or you'll miss out completely. So try to book opening night for a fabulous taste treat. But to catch this funny farce, you better run to the Granite Theater in Westerly because the tickets will be sold out quickly.