“The Dinner Party” by Neil Simon, written in 2000, is a semi-serious look at marriage and divorce with comic overtones. Directed by Lewis Hauser, the six well-cast players deliver Simon’s witty and pungent words without a flaw.
Opening on a single set displaying a well-dressed and elegant table, the invitees to the party arrive slowly one by one to the private dining room of the La Cosette French restaurant in Paris. Each is perplexed to find no waiter, and no one else they know. Each new arrival questions why they are there and for what occasion? It seems the only relationship any of the three men have is with Paul Girard, the divorce attorney for all of them. They find out Girard is out of town and will not attend his own party.
The men decide a woman will come in the door next, and sure enough in walks Mariette, an attractive middle-aged woman now a successful writer (Leslie Simms). She recognizes her former husband and is upset to see him. Yvonne (a sparkling Kelli O’Brian) enters and finds her ex-husband there whom she has divorced twice. The last of the couples is sexy Gabrielle (Ingrid Koopman) and Andre (Michael Thompson). Gabrielle in charge wants to play a game of disclosure before dinner: what was the worst thing your spouse did to you during your marriage, and what was the nicest thing? They finally sit down to dinner, however one of the men decides his relationship is over and leaves.
“The Dinner Party” is at The Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., ending Saturday, March 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for students, seniors and group discounts. For reservations, call (818) 206-4000.