Evening shows from Tues - Sat.
Thursday matinees 22 & 29 June.
Saturday matinees every week.
Sunday matinees from 21 May (excl. 28 May).
“This show is right up there with The Mill’s very high standards.”Henley Standard
“Two hours of sheer high-energy fun and frolic. A great night out.”Reading Chronicle
HENLEY STANDARD – Mike Rowbottom
You have to love the French: adultery is the unwritten part of their constitution, unhindered by moral issues, entirely accepted, governed only by its expense.
Robin Hawdon’s adaptation of Marc Camoletti’s Don’t Dress For Dinner makes sure this Gallic tradition doesn’t flag and Ron Aldridge’s skilful use of the Mill’s stage keeps up a breakneck speed.
The story: man plots a dirty weekend with his mistress while his wife is planning the same with her husband’s best friend. Both plans are thwarted at the beginning of the play and the next two hours is a series of misunderstandings, very singular double entendres and mistaken or mis-allocated identity and they each try to hide it from the other.
So far, so farcical and this show is right up there with The Mill’s very high standards. But there’s an extra ingredient here on top of a well-chosen cast who give their all and leak buckets of perspiration in the process.
We last saw her at the Mill last year as Elvira is Blithe Spirit when she stole the show. She does the same here as a mouthy cook who is, in turns, dowdy, common, sexy, alluring and always appealing. The very best thing about her is her timing, it’s exquisite with just the right amount of duration and weight given to every syllable to make it work at its best for her. That cannot be taught, it comes from within.
She is magnificent as the cook determined to cash in on her employers’ embarrassment.
Special mention also for Amber Edlin as the disloyal wife: she’s a stunner raising the question of why on earth her husband, played by Nick Waring, would want to stray. But this is a French adaptation so of course he does - he’d be abusing the constitution if he didn’t.
His best friend, Rikki Lawton’s Robert, dominates his scenes with his energy and controlled abandon.
Camoletti also wrote Boeing Boeing which The Mill staged a couple of years ago and it obviously suits the theatre and its audience; we live in different times and the French idea of morality, or lack of it, fits our time much better than it might have done in previous decades.
This production of Don’t Dress For Dinner revels in that naughtiness and so do we.
READING CHRONICLE – Carol Evans
What's in a name? Quite a lot actually, but never more so than when two women called Suzy turn up in Don't Dress for Dinner, the latest delicious dish being served at The Mill at Sonning, writes Carol Evans.
And with illicit bedroom chicanery the anticipated climax, we can expect plenty of hilarious confusion and misunderstandings as events unfold. Add quick-fire, spot-on comic timing to the mix from a cast who keep the pace moving like a bullet, audiences are in for a real treat.
Marc Camoletti's witty farce is set just outside Paris where philandering Bernard is sending his wife Jacqui off to visit her mother so he can share some naughty nooky with his mistress Suzy (aka Suzanne).
But his plans are thwarted when Jacqui learns that his best friend Robert (her secret lover) has been invited too and so decides to stay. Bernard panics big-time and persuades a reluctant Robert to say he's Suzanne's paramour. Enter Cordon Bleu cook Suzy (aka Suzette) - who Robert mistakes for Suzanne - and the ingredients are in place for what turns out to be two hours of sheer high-energy fun and frolic.
A catalogue of lies, deceptions and misunderstandings unfold with webs of intrigue becoming more tangled as cover-up stories and explanations become more bizarre. Roy Aldridge directs a well-focused cast who throw themselves into the chaos with enthusiasm.
Nick Waring never lets up his frenetic pace as the panic-stricken philanderer Bernard. Rikki Lawton is excellent as the perplexed and put-upon Robert. Amber Edlin is convincing as furious deceived wife and mistress Jacqui. Carla Freeman is a baffled Suzanne who has somehow ended up doing the cooking.
But by far the best part, and the funniest, is that of Suzette (a brilliantly sparky Finty Williams) who gets asked to play a number of different roles to flesh out the menfolk's lies - earning herself a tidy extra sum in tips.
This is farce at its best, no continual door-slamming or trouser-dropping; the focus here is more on clever word play and unbelievable situations played so believably, one is tempted to think that what we are seeing is pretty normal. A great night out.