Don’t Miss Don’t Dress for Dinner

“If you knew Suzy, like I know Suzy, oh – oh what a girl!” is a line from the lively accompanying music to the play Don’t Dress for Dinner. The issue of who “Suzy” actually is and why becomes a tangled web of complicated lies for friend Bernard and Robert in this fast-paced and witty production by the University Players.         Beginning Tuesday, October 3, and running through Saturday, October 7, the University Players’ premier drama, Don’t Dress for Dinner, has transformed Hoey auditorium’s stage into the charming, comfortable living room of a converted farm building in the countryside of France.           The home belongs to married couple, Bernard (Daniel Weger) and Jacqueline (Ashleigh Sumner).  Bernard is very excited at the prospect of having his mistress over for a romantic weekend to celebrate her birthday. He’s even booked a cook, Suzette (Bobbi Baker), from a catering agency to prepare a fine gourmet meal.                  Jacqueline is worried and a bit annoyed at leaving her husband alone over the weekend while she plans to be away, visiting her mother.               While Bernard anxiously tries to get Jacqueline on her way, she answers the telephone and discovers that the cook has left and will arrive shortly.  Curious, she questions Bernard about the cook, and Bernard tells her that he didn’t want to have to worry about cooking. She also learns that his best friend, Robert (Adam Nestlerod), is coming for the weekend.                 This is a surprise since Jacqueline has her own lover, the one and same Robert who is friends with Bernard. On impulse, she cancels her plans, ecstatic that she has the opportunity to spend the weekend with Robert. Unfortunately for Bernard, his mistress, Suzanne (Emily Wood) is on her way to the country home, and he frantically begins to try to figure out how to solve a problematic situation.            Bernard coerces Robert to pretend to be Suzanne’s boyfriend for a little while during the evening meal.  Robert refuses adamantly and doesn’t want to stay.  But he is forced into the middle of a compromising predicament.               “I’ve got to have your help,” Bernard says to Robert. “You are going to provide an alibi … I want you to say [Suzanne’s] yours.”        “I can’t!” Robert replies.          “But it’s so simple!” Bernard pressures him.            Robert is astounded, since he knows it is much more complicated than Bernard thinks. He is even more horrified when Bernard informs Jacqueline that he will be having his “lover” over for the weekend as well.                 Shocked and furious, Jacqueline leaves Robert in the house and drags Bernard with her to the village.  The evening seems to be getting started off with a bang already.        Robert describes the situation aptly with, “My God, what a mess!”          When Suzette, the cook, arrives, Robert mistakes her for Bernard’s mistress and introduces himself accordingly. This causes problems for Bernard and Robert as well, since neither of them realizes that Suzette is the hired cook. After they realize who she is, they have to cover up their mistake by creating even more deception so that Jacqueline won’t know that Bernard’s mistress is coming.         One would think that this is the worst of the evening’s confusion.  But things begin to get even more complicated when Suzanne, the real mistress, eventually turns up, and finds that she must pretend to be the cook for the evening. Later, Suzette finds herself creating her own kind of trouble when she mentions that she has a husband who would be very upset to think that she had a lover.          The web of deception progresses into a game of figuring who’s going to be what and how that will deceive the other characters. The masking of who is being adulterous with who provides a hilarious chain of events that challenges the audience to follow the action quickly. The cast’s energy is wonderful and promises to engage the audiences’ laughter throughout the evening.        Curious minds will be intrigued as to what the outcome of Don’t Dress for Dinner will be. But for those answers, audiences will have to come out during the week, take a break from the busy world, and relax for an evening of drama.      As Bernard says, “Things work out in the end, they usually do.”      Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Hoey Auditorium. Tickets are available at the door: Adults $12.50, Seniors $10.00, and students $5.00. Tickets can also be reserved at the Communication and Theatre Arts Department by contacting the office at (828) 227- 7491.