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CVLT’s ‘Don’t Dress For Dinner’ is a deliriously sexy romp

There is nothing better than a mad-cap comedy that is done well. To be successful the action has to be fast and furious with loads of physical high-jinks and witty repartee. It needs to have the subtlety of a train wreck yet must be reigned in so it does not degenerate into total chaos. Case in point is the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre production of Marc Comoletti‘s “Don’t Dress For Dinner” (adapted by Robin Hawdon) now on stage through June 15th. It is everything one would want in a comedy and then some.

Bernard (Joe Kenderes) and his wife Jacqueline (Jaimee Moore) live a quiet life in a French barn that has been converted into a quaint little country cottage two hours away from Paris by train. Jacqueline is off for the weekend to visit her mother. Bernard has made plans for his friend Robert (Vince Stillitano) to visit for the weekend. Unbeknownst to Jacqueline he has also invited his model/actress mistress Suzanne (Katie Wells) as well. He has also arranged through an agency for a Cordon Bleau cook, Suzette (Mia Radabaugh) to take care of their culinary needs.

It turns out that Jacqueline and Robert are also lovers and when she learns of Robert being there for the weekend changes her plans and ends up staying herself. Suzette is mistaken for the mistress, Suzanne is mistaken for the cook and then there is George (Barry Moses) who is Suzette’s husband.

It is all one crazy mixed up affair where the drinks fly, mistaken identities keep happening and the banter is fast and furious as these over-sexed middle-agers try to consummate their various trysts. All the while, Suzette is making out like a bandit, blackmailing everyone she can.

This is top notch comedy theater as the actors pull out all the stops for a wild ride. Joe Kenderes as Bernard is perfect as the high strung husband trying to keep this weekend farce from spinning out of control. Vince Stillitano as Robert is the perfect cohort as he tries to keep mum about both Bernard and his secret liason and his own affair with Jacqueline. Jaimee Moore as Jacqueline is hilarious as the put upon wife who is living in a glass house of her own. Katie Wells as the sexy girlfriend Suzanne tries to adapt to the constantly changing parameters. Mia Radabaugh as the conniving Suzette comes complete with French accent and attitude as does Barry Moses as George, her husband.

The stage set by Tom West is exquisite and tastefully done. The lighting by T. J. Hayes is sharply defined. Kelsey Tomlinson keeps everyone functionally clothed through countless costume changes. The show is directed by Christopher Bizub who keeps the pace ripping along at a furious pace. The little over two hours (with fifteen minute intermission) fly by.

It is always a joy when the right combination of cast and crew are gathered for an uproariously funny comedy. You will need a scorecard to keep up with the various les histoires de coeur (affairs of the heart). The laughs are non-stop from start to finish. Come see this show for a good laugh.

The Chagrin Valley Little Theatre production of “Don’t Dress For Dinner” will be on stage at 40 River Street, Chagrin Falls, Ohio through June 15, 2024. For more information and to purchase tickets go to www.CVLT,org or call (440) 247-8955.


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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.  

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