It’s a rare joy to be able to sit back in a local theater and laugh your heart out at the foibles up on stage, but if such an evening is the medicine you need in your life (and it is for most of us), don’t hesitate to book your tickets to the Hampton Theatre Company in Quogue in the next two weeks to see their new production of Marc Camoletti’s “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” playing through June 10.
“Don’t Dress for Dinner,” which had its English debut in the West End in 1991, is a much later play that Camolett’s 1962 classic “Boeing, Boeing,” but it brings back the two main characters from that play, Bernard and Robert, and puts them through another hell of their own making — with infidelities and alibis piling up in a fast-paced evening of deepening absurdity.
Bernard (Andrew Botsford) has planned to cook up a weekend with his mistress Suzanne (Rebecca Edana) while his wife Jacqueline (Rosemary Cline), is off visiting her mother, and he’s invited his best man, Robert (Matthew Conlon) over for the weekend, to help him perfect his alibi.
The first problem is that Robert doesn’t know he’s Bernard’s alibi.
But that’s hardly the only problem. Unbeknownst to Bernard, Jacqueline is having an affair with Robert, and when she gets tipped off that he’s coming for the weekend, she cancels the trip to her mother’s in the hopes of arranging a secret tryst with her own lover.
Bernard twists Robert’s arm to try to salvage the weekend by getting his best man to pretend for Jacqueline’s sake that Suzanne is his own lover, a facade that Robert can’t refuse without giving away his own secret dalliance to Bernard.
When the Cordon Bleu chef Bernard has arranged to cook for the weekend, Suzette (Amanda Griemsmann), shows up before Suzanne (they are both called Suzy for short), things rapidly spiral out of control.
This is a fine cast comprised mostly of HTC veterans, whose comedic timing and quick wits make for a tight, action-packed evening of theater, under the fine direction of George Loizides, who last directed HTC’s tender and heartfelt 2016 production of Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers.”
Amanda Griemsmann as the cook, Suzette, is a particular delight, sharp-witted and acerbic in her commentary and her willingness to take advantage of the situation she’s fallen into.
HTC newcomer Sam Yarabek, who plays Suzette’s insanely jealous husband, George, doesn’t appear on stage until well into the second act, but he steals the show when he comes to pick up his wife, wearing a chef’s coat stained with what is likely the detritus of a night of cooking, but could just as easily have been blood.
There’s not a moment out-of-place in this seamless production, with a crew comprised of HTC veterans as well — with set design and decor by Sean and Diana Marbury, respectively; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski and sound design by Seamus Naughton. Ms. Marbury served as rehearsal stage manager and Thomas DeAngelo as production stage manager.
The costumes in this production, designed by Teresa LeBrun, really take the cake. That’s a good thing, because with all the food that gets thrown or dropped on the actors in this play, particularly Mr. Botsford, they go through a lot of clothes.
“Don’t Dress For Dinner” continues through June 10 on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. An additional 2:30 p.m. matinee performance will be held on Saturday, June 9 at 2:30 p.m., in addition to the 8 p.m. show that evening.
A special lunch and theater will be offered in association with the Quogue Club at the Hallock House, for the Saturday matinee on June 9. For more information on packages and discounts, visit www.hamptontheatre.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To reserve tickets, visit hamptontheatrecompany.org or call OvationTix at 1.866.811.4111.