Monday 30 March 2015

A Dinner To Die For review

Photo by Sofia Monkiewicz
I do love a good murder mystery. I've spent countless hours playing Cluedo (and watching the film religiously) and even hosted a few of my own murder mystery dinner parties. So when I saw one was being produced by Bare Elements Productions during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I knew I had to get involved.

A Dinner to Die For is set in 1928, and we are invited to Lord Quinten Daventry's (Craig Thompson) birthday dinner at his grand home. Invited are many of his good friends (and perhaps some of his not so good friends), including Fanny Farquar (Charlotte Strantzen), Great Uncle Bernie (Simon J Robinson), Captain Montague Smedley-Downes (Ben Loxham) and Gwendella Garavinah (Teagan Robertson). Over the course of the evening, secrets are revealed, love is declared and murder is committed, and this all before the main course is even served!

All the actors remained committed to their characters and improvising as the story progressed and in their interaction with the guests. Sure the story has a few holes and not everything runs smoothly but that’s also its charm. It’s over the top, high-camp fun and filled with lots of sexual innuendo and puns – it’s no accident that one of the characters is called Fanny.

The beauty of such an event is that you are free to engage in as much of the events as you like. If like me, you are a bit performance-inclined you can mingle with the actors and others guests as much as you like but if you would prefer to sit back and watch the story unfold you can. The only problem is, with only five actors and roughly twenty guests, there is only so much time you can engage with the characters and give them a quick interrogation, but that's probably me wanting more than my 15 minutes of fame.

An evening of séances, severed limbs and darkly held secrets are all part of the festivities at A Dinner to Die For. Personally speaking, the more you choose to involve yourself in the antics the more fun you are likely to have. There are only three shows left for its comedy festival run so book now. After all, your next meal could be your last. 

Venue: The Retreat Hotel, 226 Nicholson St, Abbotsford
Season: Until 18 April | Sat 7.15pm
Tickets: $75 Full |
Bookings: Bare Elements Productions

* Original review appeared on Theatre Press on 31 March

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