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Saturday, February 11, 2012


(Jailoshini Naidoo and Clare Mortimer prepare to dampen the high spirits of Janna Ramos Violante and Bryan Hiles)

Hilarious farce a delight from beginning to end. (Review by Caroline Smart)

KickstArt delivers again! In the highly-professional well-directed and designed style audiences have come to expect from them, KickstArt has produced the hilarious farce, Don’t Dress for Dinner by French playwright Marc Camoletti, which is a delight from beginning to end.

A sequel to Camoletti's Boeing Boeing, Don’t Dress for Dinner was adapted by Robin Hawdon and first presented in London in 1991. Director Steven Stead has adapted it to a South African context, setting it in a stylish private game lodge in the Kruger Park area. Much humour is drawn from the fact that the unit was once a farmhouse.

Unlike many other productions adapted for local settings, this one works well and Greg King’s set is one of his best. It offers Afro chic with its thatched roof, African artefacts and Nguni skins combined with Persian carpets, bird paintings and modern comforts.

When the play opens, Bernie (Tim Wells) is hurrying his wife Jacky (Clare Mortimer) off to her mother’s for the weekend. His urgency has a sense of panic as he has plans for what she thinks is a quiet weekend for him. He is expecting his close friend Rob (Bryan Hiles) to join him to cover for what will be a love tryst with Bernie’s girlfriend, Suzanne (Jailoshini Naidoo). Everything is on track including a gourmet meal provided by cordon bleu chef Suzette (Janna Ramos-Violante) whose co-operation, it turns out, comes at a price!

However, Jacky takes a phone call meant for Bernie which changes her plans and this opens the way for a brilliantly-designed plot that has some highly convoluted twists and turns. As the drinks flow, things get more complicated and those with secrets to hide are hard-pushed not to reveal them! Then into the muddled mix comes Suzette’s husband George (Nhlakanipho Manqele) to add to the chaos.

With Tina le Roux’s effective lighting design, this is a splendid ensemble piece where each actor gives a fine performance, proving that Camoletti’s work is in good hands. Special mention must be made of Nhlakanipho Manqele whose professional career spans a mere three years but he more than holds his own against this stellar cast of highly experienced performers.

Mistaken identities form part of farce and this one goes further, requiring characters to have identities thrust upon them, adding to the fun and mayhem. Negotiating through this intricate scenario of who knows what - and why - requires major concentration from the cast and must have made for interesting rehearsals!

Don’t Dress for Dinner runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until February 26. Performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 (Sundays at 17h00). There are also Saturday matinees at 14h30. Tickets R130 (R100 students and pensioners). Special Gala Valentine’s Performance on February 14 – tickets at R160 include a glass of sparkling wine upon arrival. (No discounts available for this show). Booking at Computicket. Don’t miss it! – Caroline Smart

Block bookings and sold performances through Ailsa Windsor on 083 250 2690 or 031 201 2831 or fax 086 671 4564 or email