Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Don’t Dress for Dinner

Swan Theatre Amateur Company

The Swan Theatre, Worcester


Prepare to laugh your socks off with this Parisian farce at Worcester’s Swan Theatre as the saucy Don’t Dress for Dinner trips up the steps and leaves you spinning as the fast-paced plot thickens with every aperitif and outfit change.

The talented cast from the Swan Theatre Amateur Company let it all hang out in this hilarious Marc Camoletti French farce set in a farmhouse a couple of hours from Paris.

Bernard, played by Carl Paskin, plans a frisky weekend with his model mistress, Suzanne, on the proviso his wife Jacqueline disappears out of the equation to see her mother.

His plans of a romantic encounter even involve hiring a Cordon Bleu cook to tantalise his taste buds out of the bedroom while best friend Robert, Martin Bourne, is to be the fall guy in case Jacqueline becomes suspicious of his proclivities for extracurricular activity. However, it isn’t all plain sailing, nothing is ever that simple.

robert and Bernard

Robert, Martin Bourne, and best friend Bernard, Carl Paskin

Robert gets dragged into the whole affair with amusing confusion as he tries to keep his own affair with Jacqueline under wraps while at the same time as keeping his best friend’s illicit endeavours close to his chest.

Bernard tries to persuade Robert to pretend to be having an affair with his mistress, Suzanne, played by Nicola Theron, and as Bernard is on the phone to his love, the two best friends grapple with the receiver, wresting over the sofa and rolling around on the floor much to the enjoyment of the audience. Martin Bourne who plays Robert has charisma emanating from his brightly coloured socks. His exasperation and desperation at being intertwined into this mess is brilliantly executed.

Viv Evans, who plays Jacqueline, brings her vivacious role as wife and secret mistress under control with great poise and sophistication. Jacqueline sticks around for the weekend hoping for some action with lover Robert, but becomes very jealous when Robert then meets Suzette, Poppy Cooksey-Heyfron. Robert mistakenly thinks Suzette is Bernard’s mistress, and the woman he is supposed to pretend is with him, not knowing she is actually the cook sent by the catering agency.

husband and wife

Bernard and wife Jacqueline, played by Viv Evans, a couple here with the unusual distinction of actually being married . . . and not only that - married to each other!

This all happens in the first act where a host of misunderstandings allied to mistaken identities and secret romantic couplings could have be seen as hard to follow, which would have spelt out disaster, but exquisite timing kept everything on track, so we all kept pace and laughed in all the right places.

Nicola Theron as Suzanne needed to let herself go a bit more, her character was chic and sophisticated, but, as mistress, I think she could have been a bit more flirty and dangerous. Russell Reed as George, Suzette’s husband, rocked the Nirvana t-shirt and as a newcomer to STAC certainly made an entrance.

Poppy Cooksey-Heyfron played Suzette with real comedic flair, flitting from one role to the next and seamlessly owned the stage. Directed by Paul Bellamy it was obvious that the cast enjoyed performing this farce and their enjoyment was infectious, the audience couldn’t stop laughing.

Join Bernard and Jacqueline, as well as Suzanne, Robert and Suzette as the chemistry sparks at the Swan Theatre, Worcester, until Saturday 2 March. Call the box office on 01905 611427 or visit for tickets.

Emma Trimble


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