Laughs on the menu at St. John Theatre

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 5, 2010

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – The venerable St. John Theatre’s latest production, “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” is a bit of a departure from what has graced the stage there recently.

The youth-heavy casts and vibrant musical numbers that filled “All Shook Up” and “Toy Camp” are absent from this outing, replaced by a comedy revolving around the more mature themes of adultery and mistaken identity.

Lying somewhere between the comedies of manners of Noel Coward and the broad comedy of Neil Simon, “Don’t Dress for Dinner” does share a light and fun atmosphere with the theatre’s last two offerings.

The fast-paced farce, by French playwright Marc Camoletti, takes place in a French farmhouse about two hours outside of Paris. Bernard, the master of the house, sets out to enjoy a weekend alone with his mistress, Suzanne, and when his friend Robert calls, he thinks this will provide him with the perfect alibi. When Bernard’s wife’s weekend plans fall through, however, Bernard must scramble to cover up his nefarious arrangement.

What follows is a frenetic farce filled with more than its share of laugh-out-loud moments and a few bawdy entendres thrown in for good measure. All in all, playgoers will be treated to a fun-filled couple of hours in the form of a production that is somewhat unusual for the small stage.

As always, the set is top notch, and the cast includes faces both new and familiar to those who frequent St. John Theatre. Players include “Toy Camp” director Mike Brooks as Bernard, Ann Leblanc as Bernard’s wife Jacqueline, Moe Ahmad as Robert, Ashley Fallon as Suzette the cook, Shay Posey as Bernard’s mistress Suzanne and Eric LaBranche as Suzette’s Husband George. Darryl Clement directs.

Remaining show times are tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Allied Express in LaPlace or may be purchased at the theatre box office starting 30 minutes before each show. Prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children.

St. John Theatre is located at 115 W. Fourth St. in Reserve.