‘Dinner at Iocasti’s’

| ckasden@queenscourier.com |

Bright costumes, brash characterizations and a very irreverent story make “Dinner at Iocasti’s” a fine feast of farce and fun. It’s currently running at the Greek Cultural Center in Astoria.

The one-act comedy features seven talented actors, who offer different reactions to life’s problems. The title character, Iocasti (Anastasia Pantelidi), is deliciously self-absorbed and clueless. She must confront the major upheavals in her family and try to deal with them. Some of these crises include an airplane crash, a well-dressed ghost, hostile business takeovers and a few more twists and turns. Ms. Pantelidi handles the role with an excellent comedic flair and a great singing voice.

Playwright Akis Dimou offers a clever script, often for adult sensibilities. Director/set designer Anastasios Samaras utilizes an interesting set, which includes a bright blue wall and an aquarium with bright exotic fish. The intimate theatrical space provides a close up of each actor’s eccentricities.

One of the eccentric dinner guests is Katerina Zoupanou as daughter Katia. While cooking the family’s meal, she provides one of the many adult double meanings — that is, her frustration when preparing asparagus. She prefers only solid stalks not limp ones.

Another unexpected visitor is Romilos (Christos Alexandridis), the ghost of Iocasti’s philandering husband. He is well-dressed for a spirit and can be both suave and sarcastic. Manicurist Nantia (Kally Giannou) is strikingly attractive and is very fond of Romilos. But the biggest and most agitating romance involves Iocasti’s son Stefanos (Alex Malaos) and the house “butler” Youri (Dimitris Pantos).
Stefanos does a very funny dance, reminiscent of departed superstar Michael Jackson. Youris seems to know too much about too many people and things. What’s going on with the T-shirt factory? Who should own it? This may require some legal advice from the family attorney Cosmas (Fotis Batzas).

The story takes comical turns across the map of Europe and Asia and makes references to Hollywood’s Cary Grant and Rita Hayworth’s Gilda. Yes, it does become comically confusing but there are English supertitles to help you sort it all out.
The Greek Cultural Center is located at 26-80 30 Street in Astoria. For information, call 718-726-7329 or surf to www.greekculturalcenter.org. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.