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Don't Dress for Dinner - A Feast of Entertainment

The Talisman cast.

Don’t Dress for Dinner, The Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth, from Monday 22 May to Saturday 27 May.

Review by Ann Evans

Don’t Dress for Dinner but do get set for a feast of pure entertainment.

It’s not always the case for a comedy farce to be as funny as it promises, but trust me, the Talisman’s production of this classic play is so funny, brilliantly acted, perfectly timed, word perfect and a fabulous evening of pure delight.

From the very start the audience are captivated. I think it’s unusual for an audience to gasp in appreciation at the set as the curtains go back, but last night’s audience did just that. Set designer John Ellam and his team should be extremely proud of creating the look and ambience of a French country cottage so perfectly.

And then the fun starts! Husband Bernard (Paul Sully) can’t wait to pack his wife Jacqueline (Kim Arnold) off to her mother’s for the weekend, so he can have a secret rendezvous with his Parisian lover Suzanne (Paige Phelps). As an alibi he has invited his friend Robert (Jack Sargent) along for the weekend and booked a Cordon Bleu chef, Suzette (Sharon Sully) to serve up some gourmet delights. However, Jacqueline senses her husband is up to something – and when discovering Robert is coming for the weekend, cancels her weekend away, throwing all Bernard’s plans into chaos.

This classic comedy farce, written by Marc Camoletti, adapted for the stage by Robin Hawdon, is brilliantly directed by the Talisman Theatre’s Artistic Director, Steve Smith. He commented: “As a lifelong lover of France and all things French, I only had to read the first few pages of the script of Don’t Dress for Dinner to know that I really wanted to direct it. This promises to be a fast-paced farce that will keep audiences entertained the whole way through with the cast’s comedic timing and high energy.”

And he was true to his word. The pace of this comedy is perfectly executed, the delivery of the lines could not have been better, the action, the facial expressions, the desperation of the characters as the plot thickens, as the web of excuses gets more and more tangled, as lie follows lie and the characters scramble for the next excuse – it’s all just wonderful.

All of the actors play their parts so well – not forgetting Georges (Galli Donaldson) the cook’s husband, turning everything on its head in the last act. The casting was perfect with everyone seeming so right for their part that I don’t want to single anyone out – except maybe:

Sharon Sully as the cook – a sheer mischievous, cheeky delight; and Paige Phelps, who looked and played the part of the seductive mistress who has no idea what she’d let herself in for; and Kim Arnold, the betrayed wife who has her own naughty secrets; and Jack Sargent, the best friend forced to come up with plausible excuses at the drop of a hat that get more and more outrageous; and Paul Sully the husband whose fault it all is - thankfully. Or we wouldn't have had this fabulous evening of laughter and pure entertainment.

A wonderful comedy farce that should not be missed. It’s on until Saturday 27 May, so book your tickets today.

For more details go to: or call the Box Office on 01926 856548.


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