Dinner by Putney Light Operatic Society
Dinner is a black comedy by Moira Buffini which originally premiered at the National Theatre. Paige Janssen invites guests over for dinner to celebrate the success of her husband Lars’ pop psychology book, ‘Beyond Belief.’ Although when Paige gives the Waiter very deliberate instructions for the evening you get the sense that this is not a typical dinner party. Paige serves up odd courses such as frozen waste and as she puts it ‘just deserts.’
Invited over is Hal, a nerdy microbiologist, Hal’s new wife Sian, a news babe and Wynee, a vegan erotic artist. Mike, an uninvited guest also turns up due to crashing his van outside the Janssen’s property.
Dinner is brilliantly written with the story slowly unfolding piece by piece with nuggets of information being dangled in front of the audience gradually, keeping us on the edge of our seats until the final course.
All of the characters in ‘Dinner’ ooze personality, albeit slightly one dimensional. Nicola Roscoe played Paige and channeled her inner bitch perfectly. Roscoe was so watchable, not only when delivering her rancid put downs but simply when she was observing the rest of the action unfold. Whilst she is a character that you clearly should dislike I couldn’t help but admire her. The rest of the cast were equally as strong, with Mark Andrew Smith’s Lars simmering aggression contrasting perfectly with Paige’s calculated calmness. I also enjoyed Ian Ward as Mike, his whole demeanor as a working class van driver, a polar opposite to the upper class dinner party attendees.
The set worked well with the dining table, quite rightly so, being the focus of the attention. The table had cleverly been designed to angle out so to avoid the problems of sight lines that would have occurred with a normal dining room table.
The play was well directed by Paul Dagley, it was pacey but not rushed and you were given time to savor some of the hilarious lines delivered by the cast.
Whilst this isn’t the deepest piece of theatre the satire and the witty one liners make it such an enjoyable evening.
Dinner is on at The New Wimbledon Studio Theatre 10-13th August.