It is perhaps a mistake for Faye Draper to have a clock mounted on the wall during her one woman show Tea is an Evening Meal. Slow moments are frequent and watching the seconds drag by only stretches them further. However, the show is sweet, though perhaps that depends on how much sugar you take in your tea. To explain: the audience - which is limited to about a dozen people - take their seats around a large kitchen table and are immediately invited to make their own cuppa. Everything is provided on the table, giving the impression that the show is sponsored by Cath Kidston. Draper then begins to describe various mealtime habits and present audience members as various characters also sitting at tables across the country.
This show is disjointed and lacks any drive or purpose. At points the audience are encouraged in drawing on the table in salt or answering Draper’s questions, but for the most part Draper delivers slightly interesting stories and situations in a low voice. None of the stories she tells build up to much – the one suspenseful recurring situation is a complete let down, practically a trick on the audience – and there’s nothing resembling drama. Some of the activities and stories were gently amusing, but it was impossible to ignore the fact that little was happening. Draper’s voice is too rhythmic and staged to inspire much response from her audience so, while the script is full of questions, the overall impression is of being spoken at, rather than to, by a distant friend with far too much time and tea.
Draper’s approach is interesting, but seems to rely far too much on the programme notes handed out afterwards to supply an intention and purpose to the piece. If you fancy a cup of tea and some inoffensive chit chat this could be your show, but you could probably manage it for cheaper in any café.