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Review: Don’t Dress For Dinner At The Yvonne Arnaud

Published on: 20 Jun, 2017
Updated on: 20 Jun, 2017

by Tricia Marcotti

This week the Yvonne Arnaud hosts the comedy Don’t Dress for Dinner by Marc Camoletti and adapted by Robin Hawdon.

Not having heard of Mr  Camoletti, I was surprised to find he had been a reasonably prolific French playwright. He wrote more than 40 plays of which this and Boeing-Boeing are probably most familiar to English audiences.

YAT MAIN STAGE Don't Dress For Dinner Ben Roddy, Damian Williams and Sara Crowe

Don’t Dress For Dinner at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. Enjoying the classic farce with Sara Crowe, Ben Roddy and Damian Williams.

The director, Brad Fitt, has worked with his actors to ensure they give their best to Camoletti’s play.

The setting is a converted hayloft, cowshed and piggery somewhere in France. If you’ve watched an episode of TV’s Escape to the Country, you’ll know what can be achieved by converting a barn in this country, but this is France, and you have stairs to the hayloft, stairs to the kitchen, stairs to the front door and stairs to the living room.

A good workout for the actors!

This play is fast-paced, convoluted, and confusing. Just when you think you know what’s going on, another twist leaves you gasping to catch up.

YAT MAIN STAGE Don't Dress For Dinner Sara Crowe, Ben Roddy and Damian Williams

Don’t Dress For Dinner at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. Shock, horror and surprise with Sara Crowe, Ben Roddy and Damian Williams.

When I got home after the performance Monday night, I tried to voice a couple of the explanations that Robert (Ben’s friend, played by Damian Williams) managed to get his tongue around and failed miserably.

Not only are there verbal shenanigans, there are also physical pieces of stage craft. However, did Bernard (the errant husband, played by Ben Roddy) and Suzanne (Bernard’s girlfriend, played by Stacy Victoria Bland) manage to cover him in veloute sauce without us seeing? I’ll never know.

One lady in the audience narrowly missed receiving sliced banana a little later! Skilfully done, I couldn’t tell whether it was a planned or an unplanned piece of stage play.

Jacqueline, Bernard’s wife (played by Sara Crowe), was the perfect suspicious wife with a guilty secret. She was supposed to be visiting her mother, but changed her mind when she heard Robert would be there.

As the evening and the number of twisted explanations progressed, she was looking more and more confused, although she said she understood as each new explanation issued from another cast member’s mouth.

Superb comedy with a definite four stars.

Don’t Dress For Dinner runs until Saturday, June 24, and tickets are available via the website: http://www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk or by calling the box office on 01483 440000.

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