The Man Who Came To Dinner Disappoints

By Evi Arthur
Reporter

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Sarah Beth Lipsman and Christian Valdivieso play the two main characters in the play: Sheridan Whiteside and his assistant, Maggie Cutler. Photo by Evi Arthur. 

When Sheridan Westside, an esteemed radio personality, slips and falls on a patch of ice on the Stanleys’ front porch, he injures himself and becomes the Stanleys’ houseguest. For the next month, Westside controls the Stanley home by isolating the Stanleys to their upstairs bedrooms and limiting their use of the phone as well as bringing in house guests ranging from movie stars to convicts and some surprising and dangerous creatures.

“The Man Who Came To Dinner” was pretty monotonous. For the whole first act, there really wasn’t much of a plot other than Westside ruining the Stanleys’ lives and frequently berating those who were waiting on him hand and foot. Whiteside, based on the famous critic and radio personality Alexander Woolcott, was rather hard to like. Even towards the end of the play, after attempting to ruin his secretary’s love life and chasing off his own nurse, he remained a conceited snob who only cared for himself.

The plot was extremely hard to follow due to all of the one-sided phone conversations and the slew of seemingly random new characters. There were also many aspects of the plot that made no apparent sense, seemingly having been thrown in at the last minute, like Whiteside’s disgust for his secretary’s new boyfriend.

However, one gleaming redemption for the whole production was the acting and the set. Due to the phenomenal acting by my fellow Roosevelt students, every new character was full of life and believable. The set, even though the whole story takes place in the Stanley’s living room, is colorful and interesting, creatively making the one room feel like many different places at once.

Although marketed as a comedy, “The Man Who Came To Dinner” wasn’t funny at all. Many of the jokes seemed to be aimed at the popular culture of the 1930s, making anyone unfamiliar with the time period completely out of the loop.

Whiteside, after ruining the Stanley’s lives, promptly walks out of it, leaving their home a mess and their kids estranged.

Confusingly disorganized and not at all charming, “The Man Who Came to Dinner” is not a play I will remember fondly.

2 out of 5 TORCHES

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