Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Walpole Footlighters second show of their 93rd season is the French farce, “Don’t Dress for Dinner.” This show is about Bernard planning an intimate evening with his mistress and packs his wife off to her mother’s house. Unfortunately his wife, Jacqueline, stays in town and his best friend is to be uses as an alibi. But there is a hidden secret there, too. Throw in two cooks, mistaken identities and some fantastic slapstick routines and you have the ingredients for the madcap romp that ensues. The alibis get confused and Bernard and Robert have to improvises excuses at break neck speed. Director Dan Delaporta infuses the show with high energy and shows adeptness at comic direction so each of the six performers has their moment to shine in this farce.
Dan tackles this contemporary farce with a talented cast and creates some hilarious shtick. The constant spilling drinks, naughty doings and wrestling on the sofa and slapping each other around are some of the laugh out loud moments. Leading the cast as Bernard, the husband is Dan Kirichok. He is a debonair actor who plays the part with nervousness and high anxiety. Dan has a flair for the role with facial expressions and slow burns. Another comic bit is his constantly changing costumes due to spilled drinks. He also wrestles on the sofa and wields the ice tongs around threateningly. Ann-Marie Weaver is Jacqueline, the long suffering wife who has a hidden secret of her own. She finds out about her husband’s infidelity and is furious about it. Ann-Marie gets to yell and browbeat the other characters with humorous results. She sprays Bernard several times with water and checks out her sexy dress. Jacqueline mixes up Suzanne for Suzette, creating chaos in the house which leads to the men to tell lie after lie to cover the truth up.
Peter McElhinney is very comical as Bernard’s best friend, Robert. He is hilarious as he runs around the stage trying to keep the secrets from being revealed. Peter is a hoot when he cowers in fear when threatened to be beaten up or being castrated by a jealous husband. His facial expressions are excellent as is his rapid line delivery. His last explanation is hysterical. Emily Murray is Suzette, the real cook who is mistaken for the mistress. She has the funniest one liners in this show. Emily’s facial expressions are fantastic during the show and a laugh out loud moment is when she hides the money in her bra. Also hilarious is when the two men transform her maid’s outfit into an evening dress in a split second as well as when she struts out in a mink coat at the close of the show. Ashley Harmon plays Bernard’s sexy mistress, Suzanne who is a model. She is a beautiful brunette who makes this role come alive with her clever and sarcastic lines. Ashley struts around in evening wear while making or should I say ruining dinner. She displays the jealous streak in Suzanne as she slaps Bernard around and spills sauce all over him. Last but not least is Andrew Bradley as the physically threatening character of George. Although he doesn’t enter until later in the show, he gets to knock out the two men, gets sat on by the three women and helps to resolve the sticky situation at hand. One of his funniest moments occurs when Peter pays him off with hush money to pretend to be Suzette’s Uncle Robert. So for a laugh a minute farce, be sure to catch “Don’t Dress for Dinner” at Walpole Footlighters to lighten up this cold winter season.
DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER (3 to 19 February)
Walpole Footlighters, 5 Scout Road, East Walpole, MA
1(508)668-8446 or www.footlighters.com