Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Don’t Dress for Dinner

By Marc Camolettidontdresslogo2

Adapted by Robin Hawdon

Directed by John Tillinger

Produced by Damian Arnold &

The British Stage Company

At the Royal George Theatre

Manic mayhem for two hours produces belly laughs
Just in time for your holiday, The British Stage Company and producer Damian Arnold have mounted one of the funniest sex farces to arrive in Chicago (at the Royal George Theatre) for sometime, Don’t Dress for Dinner. This wildly funny show is a treat for these bluesy holiday times. We all need a good laugh and this show provides enough laughs to last throughout the entire season.

Headed by TV and film stars Jeffrey Donovan and Patricia Kalember, under the direction of legendary New York director John Tillinger, on the opulent set by Jim Noone, Don’t Dress for Dinner is a flawlessly staged farce filled with outstanding verbal and physical comedy. Playwright Marc Camolett and adapter Robin Hawdon have cleverly weaved a convoluted plot filled with the classic farce elements to pound us with zany situations. This comedy of errors is a most pleasing night at the theatre.

Don’t Dress for Dinner is a frenetic case of mistaken identity based on the sexual desires of the characters. The twists work because we empathize with characters. When Jacqueline (Patricia Kalember) decides to visit her mother, her husband Bernard (Mark Harelik) plans a cozy weekend with his mistress. His bachelor pal Robert (Jeffrey Donovan) calls having just arrived back from Hong Kong. Bernard invites him along to provide an alibi. Bernard also hires a cook to cater his weekend. Things get crazy when Jacqueline realizes that Robert is arriving at her home. The situations change quickly as the cook and Bernard’s lover get misidentified forcing Bernard and Robert to scatter for explanations. Robert finds himself in the middle moving from amorous attention to wrathful vengeance. You’ll be laughing at this clever plot, wild physical bits and the perfect timing of the players. This is high comedic farce at its best. The pace and rhythm of the farce is expertly timed.

The wonderful cast manically throw themselves into the material. Jamie Morgan and Spencer Kayden are terrific as the two sexy women who must trade roles. Chris Sullivan offers strong turns as the cook’s husband. Mark Harelik is wonderful as the horny husband but Jeffrey Donovan and Patricia Kalember offer fearless turns that lead the hilarity. This is an energetic, smart and funny show that will entertain you throughout. You’ll escape into the wonderful world of farce for two hours as you laugh your self silly. This show will warm your heart. Farce doesn’t get any better that Don’t Dress for Dinner.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Jeff Recommended

At the Royal George Theatre1641 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL, Call 312-988-9000 for Tickets $49.50 – $59.50 ($5 student/senior discount), Tuesdays at 7:30 pm, Wednesdays at 2 & 7:30 pm, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays 4:30 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2 & 5 pm, Running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, Through April 19, 2009

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