“Dont Dress for Dinner” rallies the audience to laughter

ACTING OUT (Sean Lara/Lariat Staff)

Ian Postal

Coming out of the Saddleback College McKinney Theatre this weekend is a wonderful production, a two-act play by French playwright Marc Camoletti called “Don’t Dress For Dinner.” Josefine Damgaard, one of the actors, may have put it best as to why everybody should come see it: “People love farce. It’s all about sex and comedy.”   

In that respect, the show does not disappoint. The plot centers around a web of infidelity and deception so wide that only one performer is really in on the whole lie by the end of it all. But before getting there, the audience is taken through laugh after laugh at every bend to the whims of circumstance. By the time everyone’s figured out his or her cover story, fate steps in to make them scramble for a new one.  

The stage effectively displays the setting of a home outside of Paris, with cozy sleeping arrangements that only get fuzzier as the show goes on. We look on the living room, as people come in and out through the bedrooms, the kitchen or outside.   

Eric Russ plays Bernard, the man of the house who was hoping for some time with his mistress while his wife Jacqueline went out of town, only to have her cancel those plans. Russ wonderfully portrays the torture this man goes through as plan after plan to hide his infidelity is swept out from under him.     

Playing the part of Jacqueline, Margot Quero is splendid in her quest to find out exactly what is going on behind her back, even as she’s hiding a few things herself. Delightfully deceiving throughout the course of the show, Quero gives a wonderful performance.     
Caught between his friend’s deception and the affair he’s having with that man’s wife is Robert, played by Matt Fauls. Speaking of the role after the show, he said it was extremely fun because, “I never get to play the victim.” Suffice to say, he made up for that lack during the performance.     

Josefine Damgaard comes in as the cook, who through a case of mistaken identity, is thrust into the deception around her. Throughout the show, she is asked to play the part of the mistress, the actress, the socialite, the niece, and back to the mistress again, while trying to keep everybody’s story straight. Damgaard, who seemed to enjoy playing the part, said, “I get to have fun with her. I can be crazy.”     

Last to join the party was Rachel Shull, who played the mistress, Suzanne. However, due to a mix-up, she has to pretend to be the cook, much to everyone’s misfortune. It’s hard not to laugh as the unsophisticated temptress attempts to take on the role of a professional chef. Shull spoke of how intriguing it was to play this sort of stock character, because “you can make it whatever you want.”     

Together, this group delivered a hilarious performance that will leave you holding your sides in laughter. Everyone’s part was played spectacularly and the audience won’t be still for more than a minute before something sets them rolling again.     

Performances of the show will be at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, plus a matinee at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $12 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets can be bought either online or at the box office in the Fine Arts Building in front of the McKinney Theatre.

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