The expression ‘it’s a crime’ is too often used when, perhaps, ‘it’s a disgrace’ would suffice. The issue of food wastage, whether from our own fridges, supermarkets, or restaurants, is a costly problem. Four Average Tomatoes have attempted to address this in their quirky but preachy show, Seven Missed Meals Leads to Anarchy. When each member of the audience is given a lanyard with a name badge, it seems that participation is the name of the game.
Seven Missed Meals leaves an especially bad taste in the mouth by discussing the food waste scandal alongside actual crimes.
Indeed, the game-show format is quickly established, and it is clear that this piece doesn’t take itself too seriously. However, the cast – a group of four friends fresh from their Performing Arts degrees – have devised the work through a passion to tackle a serious message. This combination of zany humour and hard-hitting information makes the message rather mixed.
Being asked to call out answers or participate in the game show feels like being told off for being complicit in the behaviour that leads to supermarkets throwing out vast amounts of perfectly good food. Seven Missed Meals leaves an especially bad taste in the mouth by discussing the food waste scandal alongside actual crimes. Spraying food waste bins with bleach is certainly relevant, but comparing this behaviour to rape is not acceptable.
The result is that it is hard to take any of this too seriously. The host, Mr Collective Conscience, is suitably smarmy, but not quite as charismatic as his lurid Hawaiian shirt. His glamorous assistant does a better job, smiling inanely while holding up a card for projected captions, pictures and facts. These veered between deadly serious and sending themselves up; again, this is a tricky juxtaposition. When one of the guests, Tara from Food Quality Control, has to play “spit or swallow” after eating some out-of-date bread, her line “three years at drama school and I’m doing this,” is telling.
Describing themselves as agitprop, political physical theatre, Four Average Tomatoes may have slightly overshot their sell-by date. At 35 minutes long, it’s not waste of time, but the food for thought smells a little suspect.