Don’t Dress for Dinner
Stage West, Fort Worth
Jul 12 – Aug 12
Bernard is planning a romantic weekend with his chic Parisian mistress in his charming converted French farmhouse, while his wife, Jacqueline, is away. He has arranged for a cordon bleu cook to prepare a gourmet dinner, 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 does 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 – Christie Vela
Performance Stage Manager – Michelle Foster
Rehearsal Stage Manager – Tiffany Cromwell
Set Design – Michelle Harvey
Lighting Design – Aaron Johansen
Costume Design – Ryan D. Schaap
Sound Design – John Flores
Props/Set Decor – Lynn Lovett
Technical Director – L. W. Miller
Shop Foreman – Karlee Perego
Where to begin? I knew very little about this show prior to attending, other than this was a comedy. My husband Nathan, who is on the board at Stage West, said that this show has been sold out most nights and that it’s really funny. For whatever reason, I’m always very leery of plays that claim to be funny. Or plays in general. I’m a musical nerd. Oftentimes, plays that are funny, try to hard and just end up being awkward.
That is not the case for Don’t Dress for Dinner. I can honestly say that not only was this the best show we’ve seen so far at Stage West (I did really enjoy The Royal Society of Antarctica and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City) but this was probably the funniest play I’ve seen. Ever. I laughed the whole time.
As described in the synopsis above, it’s a comedy of errors and misunderstandings. Essentially, there is a married couple, and they each plan on spending the weekend with their ‘side pieces’ and all end up under the same roof. The writing is clever, the timing is great and the added physical comedy will make you cry when you laugh.
Mark Shum plays the lead male character Bernard. I’ve seen him before at Stage West and he’s great. The script has a lot of complex moments and it’s beyond me how he was able to deliver every line without a single mistake. Dana Schultes, the Executive Producer at Stage West, plays Bernard’s wife Jacqueline. Dana is great – she’s also hilarious and might I add, her wardrobe is phenomenal. She rocked the 80s shoulder pads for days. Robert, Bernard’s best friend and Jacquelin’s lover is played by Michael Federico. His timing and delivery is also impeccable.
I have to say though, the two standouts of the show were Allison Pistorius and Catherine D. DuBord who played Suzette and Suzanne. They were absolutely hilarious and the whole audience loved them. Allison’s character had to play a variety of roles including a chef, a mistress and a niece, each of which were totally different and hilarious. Her physical comedy and facial expressions were so funny. Catherine played another mistress, from high society, who was forced to pretend to be a chef… which was hilarious and awkward. I can’t say enough about her facial expressions and physical comedy either. For half of the play, she looked like she had been fun over by a bus and Nathan and I couldn’t stop laughing. (See pic on the right)
Y’all. So funny. Well done Stage West, well done.
We saw the show on it’s last night, so I’m sad that if you are reading this, you’ve missed the boat, but perhaps you’ll take a look at the rest of the season.