Dinner @ The New Theatre

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

ArtsArts Reviews
3 Comments on this post.
  • anon
    10 March 2010 at 09:08
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    I am completely baffled by this review!

    I went to see the play on saturday night and thought that aside from good turns the majority of the cast were dire beyond belief, forgetting lines and mumbling without acting, swallowing their own words .

  • Also anon
    10 March 2010 at 14:20
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    For me the fantastic script was unfortunately let down by lack of direction, making for a somewhat flat and lifeless production. When tensions should have been running high most of the characters seemed unaffected to the point of frustration. I could see some of the actors struggling to salvage the play, and credit must go to Munro and Harriskine for making the most out of their limited creative input. They shone in an otherwise fairly uninspiring production.

  • Disappointed but not sure why
    10 March 2010 at 21:41
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    I went to see ‘Dinner’ with high hopes, buoyed on by a positive review from Impact.

    I left with a vague feeling of dissatisfaction which I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I don’t think the blame lay with anyone on particular really, the play just felt mishandled.

    All this is a shame really, as I’ve liked previous productions at The New Theatre.

    I liked the chandelier through, kudos to whichever backstage person built that.

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