Dinner is Swerved

None of the diners really knew what to expect from this performance. Some of the audience looked just as confused throughout as they themselves became almost as much a part of the performance as the actors. That’s to be expected when you are seated with strangers by a dining table for 2 hours and encouraged to have normal conversation in between surreal acts and dishes that aren’t quite what you’d call normal.

One is led into the dining room by one of two hosts of the evening. They sit you down and explain that you will be having real food and wine is sold on site. They also check for any allergies. People are encouraged to taste the food - although it may not taste as what you’d expect. Don’t arrive on a full stomach but also not on an empty one. Then the show begins. There are various guest speakers, all performed by Dan Kelly who does a great job as each of the characters. There is also a waiter and waitress, Dylan Read and Lucy Callen, that present your dishes in a unique manner and perform music in between courses. Through saying grace the three of them combined set off the humorous and absurd tone that remains throughout the play. Later on you have the option to take part in a market research about food and can listen to complaints about the chef from the waiters. And there is also time to get to know your fellow audience members, encouraged by all of the guest speakers.

The entertainment is quirky, intimate and the atmosphere is light at all times, although possibly depending on your fellow audience members somewhat. The food isn’t particularly tasty but that isn’t the point of it. It is presented in odd ways and a part of the charm is to see people’s reactions and willingness to eat edible shrubs for example. Read has wonderful room presence and great comic timing. He and Callen work well together as a musical team, where Callen’s musical talents shine through various instruments. I won’t give more away. This is an experience you’ll need to discover for yourself.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

The multisensory dining adventure! Trompe l'oeil. Edible shrubs. Synesthesia. Audible dishes. The British public. Pan-fried reverie. Top-quality original cuisine complemented by live music, theatre and comedy. All welcome. Book early: only 16 covers per service.

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