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Don’t Dress for Dinner
a Farce
by Marc Camoletti

COMPANY : Gypsy Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Sylvia Beard Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4950

SHOWING : August 25, 2016 - September 11, 2016



The hilarious sequel to "Boeing Boeing!!"

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.

Director Mercury
Suzette Rachael Endrizzi
Robert Aaron Gotlieb
Bernard Davin Allen Grindstaff
George Benjamin Mitchell
Suzanne Alessandra Scarcia
Jacqueline Julie Trammel
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Dress and Redress for Dinner
by playgoer
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Marc Camoletti’s "Don’t Dress for Dinner" contains some elements of classic French farce, such as extramarital affairs and mistaken identities, but sets the play in 1971. In the Gypsy Theatre Company production, director/sound designer Mercury starts the show with a big nod to the time period, with roving psychedelic lights playing over the stage as the female numbers of the cast frug and watusi to a musical score. It’s when the stage lights come up, however, that the real fun begins.

The plot, almost too convoluted to describe, involves a husband and wife whose secret extramarital lovers are coming to spend the weekend at their converted barn in the French countryside, along with a hired cook. They all have to hide their true identity and/or true romantic relationships, leading to multiple levels of mistaken identity. Things run out at breakneck speed and with tons of physical comedy, which is just what this type of farce needs.

The physical production is handsome. The near-symmetrical set, designed by Mercury, has the feel of a converted barn, with raw wood, a barn door, and Dutch doors. A long vintage couch and custom coffee table (being auctioned off after the run) fill the center of the space. Scenic designer Danielle Gustaveson doesn’t seem to have supplied a lot of props to fill up the space, but the ones that are there do all they need to do and more. The same can be said of her colorful costumes.

Performances are terrific across the board. Gifted physical comedians Davin Allen Grindstaff and Aaron Gotlieb play the husband and his best friend, and they get tons of laughs in a phone call near the start, as the cord tangles and twists around them. As the wife, Julie Trammel is strong and statuesque and lovely (especially if you like colorful eye shadow), and she drives the action through many of its convolutions. These three all have standard American accents.

Rachael Endrizzi, as a cook named Suzi who is bribed into all sorts of role playing, starts out with a bit of a Cockney accent, poshing it up as necessary to inhabit other personages she undertakes to impersonate. Her role packs bunches of comedy into the plot. Benjamin Mitchell, in the second-act role of her burly husband, has a similar Cockney accent.

Alessandra Scarcia, on the other hand, has a lovely French accent in her role as another Suzi, an elegant paramour forced into cooking dinner for the party. The accents don’t necessarily make sense for the locale, but they work just fine in dramatic terms. The fact that the accents are so good and consistent helps sell them.

This production just plain works. It’s a bit long in the first act as the tangled relationships are set up, but it all makes sense without exceptions in the topsy-turvy world of deceptions and misconceptions that makes up "Don’t Dress for Dinner." Mr. Gotlieb may not be as hunky as the script suggests his character is, and the wife is taller than the husband, but in a production as good as this one, minor discrepancies like that don’t amount to a hill of beans. (And a hill of beans might be tastier and more appetizing than the meal prepared by the "wrong" Suzi!) [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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