Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Review: Don't Dress For Dinner @ Santa Clara Players

Very quick review because it doesn't deserve much more than a mention. Santa Clara Players performs small-cast plays, usually in two acts (even if they were written in three) in a cozy space behind the Triton Museum in what had been an art gallery pavilion but is now a 60-seat (or so) theater.

Don't Dress For Dinner by Marc Camoletti and adapted by Robin Hawdon is a forced farce which hinges on multiple mistaken identities. It is more forced than farce, the initial setup makes no sense at all, and the rest of the show pretty much follows from there.

The setup:

The husband has invited his mistress to visit him while his wife is away. He has booked a chef to cook for them. He has also inexplicably invited his best friend to stay the weekend.

The twist:

His best friend is having an affair with his wife. When his wife hears best friend is coming for the weekend, she cancels her trip.

The farce:

The cook and the mistress are both called "Suzi". One is Suzette and the other is Suzanne, but the playwright may have well have named them both Beulah.

The men in the cast (Husband, best friend, chef's husband) come to us from the "just say your lines and remember your blocking" school of drama. There was little or no actual acting on their parts. The wife did some actual acting for a few minutes here and there, and the chef showed signs she might break out into a character, but the mistress didn't. The best friend only had two voices: loud and hoarse screaming.

The set looked great until someone slammed one of the many doors. Lighting is limited in this space, but the set and actors were lit well, and there was only one real light cue.

Costumes were modern dress. The bedroom garb was pretty strange. The mistress closed the show in Frank's outfit from Rocky Horror and didn't look much better in it than he did. The wife wore a stunning nightgown negligee which was too much like what a wife who is trying to please her husband would wear than a woman seducing her lover would. And the chef's outfits just plain sucked. There was a very ornate on-stage change scene where the husband and best friend turn the chef into a mistress, but she looked like a velvet sausage in the resulting tube dress.

Reading the program and from some insider info (I have been involved in several SCP shows) this show was pre-cast. That's against SCP rules. In this case it also produced a mediocre performance.

One kind word - many of the lines in this show are extremely difficult expositions of "the plot so far". The script is very difficult all the way through. The cast all had the words nailed.

Three more shows, Thurs-Sat 8 pm
Triton Museum Hall Pavilion
Warburton & Don, Santa Clara
408-248-7993 to reserve tickets (a good idea, it's a small theater with a large subscriber list)

Tags: review

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