The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
March 24, 25, 26 & 27, 1999.
Don’t Dress for Dinner
by Marc Camoletti adapted by Robin Hawdon
Kevin Isaac – Bernard
Heather Richards – Jacqueline [his wife]
John Garland – Robert [his friend]
Claire Wiggins – Suzanne [his mistress]
Zoë Edden – Suzette [the cook]
Andrew Cregeen – George [her husband]
Stage Manager – Dave Comber
Prompt – Margaret Ockenden
Lighting – Mike Medway
Set Design – Ralph Dawes
Set Construction – Brian Box
Set Construction – Mike Davy
Set Construction – Mark Flower
Set Construction – Marc Lewis
Set Painter – Sheila Neesham
Set Painter – Frances Thorne
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Costume Manager – Margaret Faggetter
Front of House Manager – Mark Flower
Press & Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Press & Publicity – Judith Berrill
Press & Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Press & Publicity – Frances Thorne
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Programme Note #1: Don’t Dress for Dinner
RD wrote “Comedy has always been a theatre form that I have enjoyed. It has immediate impact and is highly coloured by audience reaction.
Marc Camoletti’s high comedy leads form one comic crisis to crisis with the characters just managing to stop everything falling apart. I had immense fun with the cast of Don’t Dress for Dinner and they have developed into a team that worked well together. The production has become a two-way collaboration between them and myself.
As a founder member of the Wick Theatre Company I am honoured to have this opportunity to direct in this 50th Anniversary Season. My hope is that you will enjoy the play this evening as much as I have at every rehearsal.”
Publicity #1: Don’t Dress for Dinner
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: March 18 1999 issue – page 1
Text Header: “Thigh’s the limit”
ARE you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin.
Claire Wiggins and Kevin Isaac [pictured] settle down for a nice cup of cocoa and a fireside chat in a scene from Wick Theatre Company’s forthcoming production at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, of Don’t Dress for Dinner. The best laid plans have a habit of going massively awry, though, and you can get a further taste of the entertainment in store by turning to page 17.
Publicity #2: Don’t Dress for Dinner
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: March 18 1999 issue – page 17
Text Header: “Wick promises to dish up loads of laughs – and plenty of sauce”
NEXT in line for Wick Theatre Company is the sparkling comedy hit Don’t Dress for Dinner.
Following its successful Paris season, this production played to enthusiastic audiences in London’s West End.
Now it comes to Southwick from March 24 to 27 at the Barn Theatre at 7.45pm.
Kevin Isaac plays Bernard, who plans to entertain his chic Parisian mistress Suzanne [Claire Wiggins] for the week-end. He is in the process of packing wife Jacqueline [Heather Richards] off to visit her mum, has booked a cordon bleu cook to dish up some gourmet meal and even asked friend Robert [John Garland] down to provide an alibi.
But things start to go disastrously wrong from the moment the curtain rises on Bernard and Jacqueline’s weekend pad. Bernard has neglected to let his friend in on his guilty secret. And mistaken identity as well as marital treachery adds to the total confusion which ensues.
Experienced director Ralph Dawes guides the play with a team of Barn Theatre regulars the exception being newcomer Diane Robinson, who plays the cook Suzette. [web-ed – see review below for Diane’s late replacement ] Ralph is looking forward to directing the play on a wider Barn stage – ideal for comedy production.
Tickets are £5 from the box-office on 01273 597094.
Review #1: Don’t Dress for Dinner
Publication: Wick News
Publication Data: May 1999
Reviewer: Judith Berrill
There was no shortage of laughs and the audience were clearly having a good night out in the Wick’s latest production of Mark Camelotti’s Don’t Dress for Dinner. This play enjoyed a run of several years in the West End and contains all the classic elements of farce – mistaken identity, doors [and Dawes R.], adultery, negligees, soda syphons and a long explanation at the end!
This production featured a great central comic performance from Zoë Edden in her first Wick rôle as Suzette [or was it Suzanne], the cook. Her reactions, timing and sense of farce were all carefully judged and very enjoyable to watch – the audience were completely behind her and the financial tips from the hapless Robert and Bernard were well earned. All this with a reduced rehearsal period as Zoë came into the show at a late stage when Diane Robinson’s leg was sadly confined to plaster. Kevin Isaac as Bernard gave us some great Cleese-esque moments while displaying his full range of shirts and John Garland’s head sank suitably further into his hands as Robert’s entanglement in the plot thickened. Claire Wiggins was entirely convincing as the model Suzanne [or was it Suzette], born to wear a Channel coat and not particularly comfortable with a saucepan in her hands. Wife and mistress Jacqueline was played by Heather Richards and it was good to see Andrew Cregeen back on the Barn stage as the over protective, easily confused and loveable George.
The medium of farce is a fragile thing – a bit like keeping a ball in the air – any dropping of the ball leaves the whole cast scrabbling around under the metaphorical sofa looking for the ball to start the game again. A few balls were dropped – for example when Margaret Ockenden as prompt was not without work and the sometimes slow cueing caused some lumpy moments – but credit should go to those who worked very hard to get the game going again as quickly as possible.
The ‘look’ of the production was good. The set, a convincing barn conversion complete with bits of timbering that gave it that genuinely ‘knocked through’ appearance. The height of the door clearly been made not to fit George’s impressive stature creating a great comic entrance for his torso. Sometimes the sofa unfortunately cut off the action across the centre – particularly the scenes using the telephone. Zoë’s instant conversion kit outfit from demure to daring was achieved with a great deal of style and what sounded like a not inconsequential amount of velcro. John cut a fine dash in some rather fetching silk PJ’s though I must confess some personal disappointment that his parting was not in our favourite central position.
It was great to see the Barn brimming with people and to hear their favourable comments. Congratulations and thanks to Ralph, his back stage, on stage and front stage crew.