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Hamptons Theater Review: Hampton Theatre Company's "Don't Dress For Dinner"

T.J. Clemente

Matthew Conlon and Amanda Griemsmann. (Photo: Tom Kochie)

The Hampton Theatre Company successfully opened their 33rd Summer Season by presenting Marc Camoletti's Don't Dress For Dinner, adapted by Robin Hawdon at the Quogue Community Center. The show received thunderous applause on opening night along with timely laughter. The show is a high-energy precision comedy. This production of Don't Dress For Dinner is absolutely what local theater is totally about - a great live show that gives you the highest level of entertainment. Don't Dress For Dinner, is a show to see, whether with a date, a friend or by oneself. I was glued to every twist and turn in this two act two-hour show. I found myself applauding the many line exchanges that dazzled me.

Director George A. Loizides had his cast finely tuned with amazing timing as the show produced laugh line after laugh line that coincided with precision comedic acting, line spacing and movement. Not once did I miss the essence of anyone's lines.

I always believe that within every show there is a performance that is the glue to the show. In this show the whole cast was super, each having multiple shining moments with scene stealing lines, facial expressions along with comedic movements. However, I choose to start with the performance of Andrew Botsford as Bernard, whose country home, some distance from Paris around 1992, is where this play takes place.

Botsford's performance as Bernard is the magic glue that holds everything together on opening night as the story bends, snaps double back and charges forward. Botsford's performance made an unbelievably complicated chain of events glide forward with ease. His stage presence and his talented skills glowed under the lights. His performance alone is worth the price of the ticket, but there is more!

Also putting in an amazingly high energy and convincing performance is Matthew Conlon who plays, Robert, Bernard's long time friend who is also Bernard's wife's lover. Conlon's comedic acting skill shines like a harvest moon throughout the whole show. Again his performance too is also worth the price of the ticket.

The three women roles in this play are each challenging parts. Rosemary Cline who portrays Jacqueline, Bernard's wife, is a gifted actor who when in control of the scene owns the stage. She has a very nice talent and playing Jacqueline enabled her to show it off and make it sparkle. Cline's timing is superb, her verbal spacing of her words is as good as it gets, and quite frankly she was flawless.

Amanda Griemsmann plays Suzette, the cook. Griemsmann won over the opening night audience showing the amazing versatility that her part demanded. She totally delivered, because her lines were important in setting up the foundation of the plot that builds a certain mettle within her character as the play proceeds. Her comedic routine throughout the play adds laughs and fun to the show. Kudos to Amanda!

Rebecca Edana provided just the right amount of sizzle to the part of Suzanne, Bernard's mistress. Edana powered through with her versatility, especially in her physical comedic acting. She was able to conjure up laughs seemingly at will. She showed a great understanding of her role, obviously because she understood the nuances of her every line. One could tell she did great preparation reading the script because her nuances threaded the needle of the complicated script like a fine needle with a very fine thread. Her poise and successful portrayal of Suzanne was very important to the show. I totally enjoyed her performance.

Lastly, Sam Yarabek play's George, Suzette's husband. Although he only appears briefly towards the very end of Act II, Sam gets some laughs and does get to steal a scene with his convincing jealous husband interpretation of his part.

There can be no minimizing Loizides' influence on this show. He was able to collect the talents of his cast and wonderfully create an energy flow using the great dialogue of the playwright Marc Camoletti as adapted by Robin Hawdon. The alliterations and puns within the script are keenly special, but more so because Loizides was able to isolate those moments so that the phrases were clearly heard with the correct pauses and impeccable timing.

Always accolades to Sean Marbury for his set design and construction.

Don't miss this opportunity to see this show! This production of Don't Dress for Dinner is a winner and only runs until Sunday, June 10. Shows will take place on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. On closing weekend, there will be an additional matinee performance on Saturday, June 9.

Quogue Community Hall is located at 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. For tickets, or more information, visit www.hamptontheatre.org.

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