ReviewDon’t Dress for Dinner

Theatre ReviewsDon’t Dress for DinnerMaitland Repertory Theatre, at its theatreEnds May 13MARC Camoletti’s French comedy, adapted into English by Robin Hawdon, shows how universal sexual shenanigans can be. A husband, Bernard, who has his Paris girlfriend coming to stay for a weekend while his wife is away, tries to hide the relationship when the wife, Jacqueline, cancels her event. She does this after learning that her boyfriend, Robert, a longtime mate of hubby, is also booked in for the weekend. To add to the confusion, the cordon bleu chef, Suzette, hired to cook the celebratory dinner feast, and the Paris model, Suzanne, are both known as Suzie. And Suzette’s husband, George, increases the to-ing and fro-ing when he arrives unexpectedly.

Director Christopher Briggs has the action moving at a fast pace in an elegant living room, and the actions and reactions are well-handled by the cast: Zac Smith as Bernard, Chloe Peters as Jacqueline, Alex Simpson as Robert, Milly Lambert as Suzanne, Ashlyn Horder as Suzette, and Brendon Harris as George.

Horder’s Suzette keeps the laughs coming when she repeatedly puts hands out for money to cover up things Bernard and Robert don’t want disclosed, saying at one point with a broad smile that “It’s very nice to be popular”. Lambert’s Suzanne adeptly faces the challenge of having to pretend she is the cook by putting an apron over her elegant dress. Two of those trying to get together in the house without being discovered find themselves getting a literally icy response as ice cubes are dropped on them. And Harris’s George, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, says that it is good to see a game of “happy families”.

The elaborate set, supposedly a stylish country residence created by rebuilding and joining facilities such as a piggery and cow shed to house guest bedrooms, generates many brisk jokes, particularly, as this being a farcical comedy, there is much hurrying through their doors, as well as up and down the staircase.

Seussical KIDSHunter Drama, at the Civic PlayhouseEnded SundayThe large cast of eight-to-14-year-olds did an excellent job of bringing out the colourful natures of the characters in this 40-minute adaptation of a musical with many Dr Seuss characters. The story focuses on Horton the Elephant and his efforts to save a community of minute figures known as the Whos, with creatures such as the Cat in the Hat making regular appearances. Director James Tolhurst and his team ensured that the performers and audience had a good time.

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