"Don't Dress for Dinner: A Sophisticated Comedy in Two Acts" is an enjoyable, exhausting and sometimes painfully funny show being performed by the Dover Foundation this weekend. Written by Marc Comoletti, the play originally premiered in Paris in 1991, was later adapted to the British stage and completing the international circle, is now set outside of New York in the Dover, MA production.
The action takes place inside a lovely renovated barn owned by a fabulously snobbish big city married couple. This very grown up farce revolves around adultery, cocktails and, of course, dinner. Bernard, played by David DaCosta, is eagerly looking forward to his weekend liaison with his mistress Suzanne, played by Erika Sargent. He figures that he's hatched the perfect plan when he invites his friend Robert, played by Jonathan Fitch, over to complete his alibi. Much to Bernard's dismay, his wife Jacqueline, played by Kami Crary, decides to stay home for the weekend because she has a plan of her own. Mix in a cook named Suzette, played by Aimee Doherty and add one jealous husband, played by Richard Hurwitz and you end up with a delicious comedy of false identities and misunderstandings.
The pace of this play is frenetic and fun. For the most part, the performances of the actors were on target for an opening night. Luckily, several missed lines and a couple of "deer in the headlights" looks were entirely acceptable in this type of show. Half of the comedy is revealed in not knowing who is sleeping with whom and the confusion of the actors seemed to work in the context of the story. Plus, the panic of the actors added to the comedic tension of the story. Some scenes were absolutely hilarious, due in part by this creative improvisation. David DaCosta (Bernard), well known for his brooding roles in area musical theatre productions, lightens up and is delightfully convincing as the self-inflicted tortured soul. Complimented by Kami Crary's (Jacqueline) strong comedic portrayal of an elitist socialite who is having an affair of her own, the two are a joy to watch. Jonathan Fitch (Robert) is wonderfully befuddled as the not-so-straight laced accountant from Connecticut. Coupled with the hysterically funny performance of Aimee Doherty (Suzette, the cook), the two mismatched pair serves up many of the shows biggest belly laughs.
Rounding out the cast, Erika Sargent (Suzanne, the mistress) is a beautiful blond bombshell and Richard Hurwitz (George, the cook's husband) is a comical jealous husband. Both performers were enjoyable and added many laughs to an already kooky evening.
Technically, the set, decorations, costumes and lighting design were very good. The barnyard sounds at the end of the show were a bit unexpected but wrapped up the farcical tone of the show. Don't miss the Dover Foundation's production of "Don't Dress for Dinner" at the Charles River School in Dover, MA running May 9-11, 2002.