Dinner parties don’t often turn into chaotic, month-long affairs in which overpowering radio hosts dominate the personal matters of entire families. But, in Thomas Edison High School's production of "The Man Who Came to Dinner," just such a thing happens, and what began as an innocent invitation to dinner quickly turns into a comic showcase between a meddling boss, an enamored secretary, a charming journalist and a theatrical seductress.
See a photo gallery of the play.
Debuting in 1939 in New York, Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s "The Man Who Came to Dinner" is a delightful comic caper taking place in 1930s America that details the story of famed radio host Sheridan Whiteside at the home of Ohio socialite Ernest Stanley and his family. On his way to attend dinner at the Stanley house, Whiteside trips on a patch of ice, injuring his hip, and is forced to stay at the Stanley home until he recovers. Thus begins a series of humorous events filled with conniving characters and comical conspiracies.
A select group of actors anchored Edison High School’s production, articulating big chunks of witty lines quickly and clearly. Both cast and crew displayed commendable attention to detail—the production team showed off a boast-worthy set chock-full of eye-catching knick-knacks, and the cast delivered every punch line with admirable success.
Nathan Vasquez drove the plotline as Mr. Whiteside, playing the part of the sarcastic, scathingly unabashed character to a T. Vasquez displayed Whiteside’s cynicism through his furrowed facial expressions, telling body language and a delightfully offensive delivery of insults, hitting every joke masterfully.
Journalist and aspiring playwright Bert Jefferson was played by Matthew Kaufax, whose suave persona mimicked that of a classic 1930s male: quick-witted, smooth and sought-after. In the second act, when being chased by seductive actress Lorraine Sheldon (Parker Collins), Kaufax succeeded in transitioning between clean-cut businessman and disheveled, overly excited playwright on the brink of supposed success.
Snagging the audience’s attention from the moment she walked onstage, Collins gave a spot-on portrayal of the melodramatic film star Lorraine Sheldon, an attention-seeking drama queen.
The adorably awkward Harriet Stanley was played by Adrianna Watson, whose staggered speech, blank stares, crazed smiles and floating movements made her disarmingly charming, giving off an aura of misplaced innocence.
Delightfully nerdy and constantly bullied, the loveably laughable Doctor Bradley was winningly portrayed by Joseph Pounds. Pedro Silva shone as the enthusiastic Beverly Carlton, delivering each line with jumpy dramatics and a comedic flair.
However, while most actors emulated the wit and comic timing pertinent to 1930s comedy, some struggled with the language, speaking as if they were living in today’s time.
Costumes and props highlighted the tech team’s meticulous call to detail; the cast was seen sporting new clothing as days passed in the script, and props appeared realistic. The set, while unchanging, was intricate and intriguing, with various doorways, stairwells, windows, and hallways making up the background. Scene changes, although accompanied with period-appropriate music, were long. Sound cues were right on time, and actors were easily heard and understood.
Edison High School’s production of "The Man Who Came to Dinner" was humorous and entertaining —anything but your average dinner party.