Dinner is Swerved starts at 11:30 pm, so it isn’t really dinner — more like a midnight snack. This is fitting though — most of the food served on the night I attended was either sweets or breakfast food — what else would you eat at midnight?
By the end of the evening, the guests were all befriending each other and chatting animatedly.
Don’t come to this expecting dinner theatre — Dinner is Swerved is simply an experience. There isn’t a narrative or really much of a show. It’s a series of scenarios: you create the entertainment yourself. The show is in the food and in the group’s reaction to it. I hesitate to say ‘audience’ here because we are discouraged from spectating and strongly encouraged to interact with each other and our surroundings. And what lovely surroundings — Dinner is Swerved’s crew have transformed a draughty attic into a cosy cushioned loft and the whole thing feels like it fell out 1960s Haight Ashbury. You almost expect Donovan to show up and earnestly sing folk songs. Soon, someone does turn up with an acoustic guitar. It’s best to just go with the flow — you’ll be asked to worship a talking tree and assemble a breakfast table. It’s all a bit mad and patchouli-scented, but thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable.
The dishes are all very good, extremely inventive, and wittily presented. Each scenario corresponds to the presentation of a new course — the final part of the meal is particularly clever. The aim is to get us to focus on our food and our senses. As adults, we live our lives too quickly, never taking enough time to properly enjoy things without distractions. Here, we’re encouraged to open our hearts, minds and mouths. By the end of the evening, the guests were all befriending each other and chatting animatedly. There’s nothing like bowing before a man dressed as a tree god to bring people together.
Dinner is Swerved is a children’s party for adults. It may be late in the evening, but this is an innocent, friendly show. Go, and go hungry.