Bernard is planning a romantic weekend with his chic Parisian mistress in his charming converted French farmhouse, whilst his wife, Jacqueline, is away. He has arranged for a cordon bleu cook to prepare gourmet delights, and has invited his best friend, Robert, along too to provide the alibi. It’s foolproof; what could possibly go wrong? Well…. suppose Robert turns up not realizing quite why he has been invited. Suppose Robert and Jacqueline are secret lovers, and consequently determined that Jacqueline will NOT leave for the weekend. Suppose the cook has to pretend to be the mistress and the mistress is unable to cook. Suppose everyone’s alibi gets confused with everyone else’s. An evening of hilarious confusion ensues as Bernard and Robert improvise at breakneck speed.
The performance is two hours including an intermission.
Don’t Dress for Dinner is an uproarious high-energy comedy adapted by Robin Hawdon from the French play Pyjama Pour Six by playwright Marc Camoletti. After running for over six years in London’s West End, it has played constantly and delighted audiences throughout the English-speaking world ever since.
Bernard (Peter Brian Kelly) is a successful French businessman who lives with his wife Jacqueline (Claire Yearman) in a renovated country farmhouse outside Paris. When Jacqueline decides to visit her mother in Paris for a few days, Bernard sees an opportunity for a cozy romantic weekend with his mistress, Suzanne (Sarah Brooks). He’s planned his weekend very carefully: First, he’s invited his best friend, Robert (Tommy Martin) to visit in order to provide an alibi for his extramarital shenanigans. He’s even hired a cordon bleu chef (Ashley Jane Stenner) to come by and prepare an elegant gourmet meal for him and his paramour.
His plan seems perfect. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, this is French farce so the short answer is — everything. First, Bernard does not know that his best friend Robert is secretly having his own affair… with Bernard’s wife, Jacqueline! Things begin to go hilariously awry when Jacqueline learns that Robert will be visiting the farmhouse so she decides NOT to leave for the weekend. Bernard panics at this news that threatens to upend his carefully laid plans. His mistress Suzanne is arriving soon! What to do? He scrambles to come up with a solution. Bernard decides to ask Robert to pretend that Suzanne is actually his mistress who’s coming to accompany Robert for the weekend.
Of course this makes things a bit sticky for Robert. However, to protect his own secrets he reluctantly agrees to Bernard’s plan. But wait… When the chef arrives before the mistress, Robert compounds the confusion by mistaking her for the mistress-girlfriend, and he pretends accordingly. Things now get even stickier. This young cook is puzzled but savvy, and she quickly recognizes an opportunity to earn some extra cash by playing along with the escapades unfolding all around her. But what might happen if the cook’s jealous — and very large — husband George (Victor Polites) were to show up and take it upon himself to set things right?
Soon everyone at the farmhouse is improvising their way through an evening of mistaken identities, lusty hijinks, and inspired lunacy — all at breakneck speed. The chaos quickly spins off into a frenzied vortex of hilarity. Don’t Dress for Dinner is a delightful and laughter-filled celebration of love and frailty. It pokes fun at the messy entanglements of romantic dalliances while also celebrating life and love in all the confusing and sometimes silly ways it expresses itself. The phenomenal success of this comedy on two continents offers solid proof that amid all the hilarity, this comedy touches the heart as well as the funnybone.
Directed by Keith Gerth
Stage Manager – Alayna Laverty
Peter Brian Kelly
Ashley Jane Stenner
Derek Brian Demkowicz