Roundabout Theatre Company in association with Damian Arnold, presents the Broadway premiere of Marc Camoletti's classic farce Don't Dress For Dinner, starring Ben Daniels as "Robert," Patricia Kalember as "Jacqueline," Adam James as "Bernard," David Aron Damane as "George" and Jennifer Tilly as "Suzanne" with Spencer Kayden as "Suzette." Don't Dress For Dinner is adapted by Robin Hawdon and directed by John Tillinger. Don't Dress For Dinner began previews on March 30 and opens tonight, April 26, 2012 at the American Airlines Theatre.
Marc Camoletti's Don't Dress for Dinner is the wildly funny sequel to the Broadway hit Boeing-Boeing. Bernard's plans for a romantic rendezvous with his mistress are complete with a gourmet caterer and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert. But when Bernard's wife learns that Robert will be visiting for the weekend, she decides to stay in town for a surprise tryst of her own... setting the stage for a collision course of hidden identities and outrageous infidelities.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: You see, if it were not for the alchemical magic of Mr. Rylance’s Tony-winning performance in Mr. Camoletti’s “Boeing-Boeing,” revived to popular acclaim on Broadway and in the West End a couple of years ago, I doubt I would have had to endure the creaking mechanics of “Don’t Dress for Dinner.” Instead of feeling freshly whipped up from a classic recipe — as “Boeing-Boeing” did, against all odds — this Roundabout Theater Company production has the stale flavor of an old TV dinner defrosted and microwaved.
Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press: It's tired, warmed-over farce that involves seltzer spraying, imaginary insects, boob jokes, loads of alcohol, people jumping over sofas, and the cast running around in dressing gowns. It's all very predictable and really not funny...But if you're in the mood for a European farce, a better one is "One Man, Two Guvnors," a play that seems to have swiped all the manic humor and good cheer from this one. If that sounds a bit like cheating on your wife, then how very appropriate.
David Sheward, Backstage: Forget the inconsistencies and plot holes; a stage farce can only work if the direction and performances are real and honest within the insane framework...Unfortunately, most of the company in 'Dinner' seems mainly interested in grabbing laughs rather than following objectives...If the whole company had followed Kayden’s lead, or if director John Tillinger had revved up his tepid staging, this could have been a satisfying 'Dinner.' Instead, it’s like being served a tray of meager appetizers when you were expecting a full meal.
David Cote, Time Out NY: Was it really four years ago that Camoletti’s Boeing-Boeing brought the house down with howls of laughter, with Mark Rylance’s bizarre antics and the sight of color-coordinated stewardesses tumbling in and out of doors? Don’t Dress is technically a sequel, bringing back horny Bernard and comparatively guileless Robert for more girl trouble and elaborate deceptions. But this time, due to an uneven ensemble, uninspired direction and a too talky script, the farcical magic never materializes...You shouldn’t be aware of time passing during a farce. Although individual actors carve out genuinely funny moments—Daniels becomes amusingly flustered, Tilly is sexily brazen, and Kayden wields a dangerous deadpan—you mainly wait for this busy, bland meal to end, so you can get dessert someplace else.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: While the recent Boeing-Boeing benefited from its clever, stylized staging, from the brilliant comedic instincts of director Matthew Warchus, and above all, from a ridiculously talented farceur in Mark Rylance, Don’t Dress is too old-fashioned to achieve the same heightened lunacy. It’s affable entertainment with many funny moments, but not enough to disguise the mechanical structure and whiff of moldiness of its infidelity-interruptus plot...Tillinger guides the action along at a steady trot, but the material loses steam in the second act, sputtering toward a laborious denouement. Instead of the chaos hinging on increasingly elaborate contretemps, it replays variations on the same theme to diminishing returns. There are laughs, for sure, but compared to the truly inventive farce of One Man, Two Guvnors, playing a couple of blocks away, there’s also a hint of fatigue.