You are all invited to ‘Dinner’. The table is set, complete with candles, lilies and a beautiful, imposing chandelier. Don’t worry, if the silver service is daunting, there will be drinks, and plenty of them. The dinner is to celebrate the launch of Lars’ book on philosophy. He invites his friends, Hal and Wynne round for the occasion, and his wife, Paige concocts some rather unique dishes, which even Heston Blumenthal would consider rather extreme.
Each course of ‘Dinner’ offers the audience a moral statement on humanity, reflecting the underlying motive of the whole play. This was lightly peppered or, more appropriately, seasoned (see what I did there?), with tensions among the characters and a much needed palate cleanser of hearty humour. Wynne’s untimely, or rather timely, outbursts of ‘waffle’ kept things sweet until the desert. Oh, also expect Mike, the van driver, to arrive just in time for the mains. He is thoroughly working class so is not expected to understand the fine pursuit of dining, but a dinner game offers him the chance to give these middle class diners a few home truths.
One scene melted into another, with the chandelier continuously lit, giving the audience the impression that we were the dinner guests. Of course, we weren’t, and another key aspect to the set was the table which faced the audience so that we remained onlookers. This gave us the chance to reflect on what we were witnessing and learn from the moral messages that this play is based around. It is said you should not mention politics or religion at the dinner table but this play is certainly not afraid to pose some thought-provoking questions to be mused upon between courses.
There was limited use of sound effects and music in the play, though that may be to encapsulate the nature of the party. Paige even anticipates that conversation will run dry at the point it does; which is when the action takes forefront. The waiter, likewise, does not speak but acts. His single line leaves the audience at a loss as to what to make of the ‘just deserts’. They don’t even make it to coffee and mints before things start to boil over. The audience are left somewhat bewildered at the end. The chandelier is extinguished and they are quite literally in the dark…
So, it’s a piece of cake really, because if you go to ‘Dinner’ you are certainly in for a treat!
By Amy Pearson