Review: Dinner is Coming, The Vaults

Some properly tasty food makes the Game of Thrones-inspired immersive show Dinner is Coming an entertaining night indeed at The Vaults

“Poor Tom-Tom”

Stepping into the world of immersive experiences as a reviewer can be a tricky business. Given the sums of money that can be charged and the subjectiveness of your time there, to be able to put one’s hand on one’s heart and say you should put your hand on your wallet is rife with difficulty. I had one of my all-time greatest adventures on my first trip on You Me Bum Bum Train and my one and only venture to Secret Cinema had a moment of unforgettable pure magic but ask me about value for money, for you, and I’m stumped.

Which is a long-winded way of saying you should take this review with a pinch of salt. Although you won’t need to add any salt because the cooking here at Dinner is Coming is really, really good. If you’ve been wondering what you should eat for dinner look no further! Designed and prepared onsite by Chavdar Todorov, Steven Estevez and their team, this is the kind of meal that comes close to justifying the ticket price alone. I always thought life was too short to roast a cauliflower but not any more, the slow-cooked lamb shoulder is melt-in-your-mouth delicious and yet somehow it is the salad that I remember the most – courgette, lettuce, beetroot and peas in a pesto-flecked dressing that makes every ingredient truly sing. Continue reading “Review: Dinner is Coming, The Vaults”

Review: The Piano Man, New Diorama

“He couldn’t speak. But he could play Tchaikovsky”

You may or may not remember the case of The Piano Man, a dishevelled gentleman found washed up on the Kent coast who for four months was utterly silent, baffling those trying to help him rediscover who he was and what had happened to him. Opting to examine this story and to devise an original piece of theatre out of it, AllthePigs reflect and refract the events through a contemporary prism, finding their own route into the strange world of Andreas Grassl as he eventually turned out to be. Delving back into his recent personal history to suggest the impact a traumatic split with his boyfriend might have had on his emotional health, exploring the differing ways that the press and the medical establishment treated him whilst nothing was known, going off at a tangent to hear current thinking on how the brain works in relation to memory and identity, they come at the tale from all angles.

Director Sam Carrack has done an excellent job in working the devised nature of the show into something more organically fluid, providing connective tissue for the constituent parts. Angelo Paragoso’s expressive movement work has a powerful impact when it pulls the whole company together to evoke feelings of helplessness and loss of control, but it is equally compelling when depicting the intimacy between Andreas and his lover. A neat parallel is drawn between being blinded with a surfeit of scientific terminology in a lecture about the brain and being overwhelmed by medical professionals all keen to solve the latest mystery. And scattered as these segments are, they rarely feel disjointed due to these criss-crossing links which bind them into an often beguiling piece of theatre which possesses a gentle but insistent power, even when it converses in German. Continue reading “Review: The Piano Man, New Diorama”