‘A cracking meal & entertaining show’: DINNER IS COMING – The Vaults

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

The Vaults, London – until 14 July 2019

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. 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.

These treats are all part of the banquet (three courses, vegan and veggie friendly) celebrating the marriage of Jaffery Bearathon, and Margarine Trywell, a feast which forms the centrepiece of Dinner is Coming. We’re allocated to a house on arrival (Trywell, Bannister or Tarragon) and as the wordplay suggests, we’re in a knowingly parodic version of Game of Thrones as people fight to sit on the Wooden Throne. Across the evening, there’s murders to be solved, secrets to be discovered, allegiances to be swapped, wine to be won and as with the better examples of immersive theatre, you’re free to participate as much or as little as you want.

Clearly it’s more fun if you throw yourself into the action wholeheartedly, and a quick-witted company of six do extremely well to run through their set-pieces as well as wrangling an increasingly boisterous crowd (a cashless bar does a mean line in cocktails…), engaging with them in any number of entertaining ways.

The tone of Ami Stidolph and Sam Carrack’s show is mainly gently satirical towards its source material, which feels about right, and some last minute additions nod amusingly towards the developments of Season 8. Altogether, it feels like a highly satisfactory evening and at £35-£55 depending on the day, a most reasonable price for a cracking dinner and an entertaining show.

Running time: around 3 hours
Main photo: Ian Foster
Dinner is Coming is booking at The Vaults until 14th July
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Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."
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Ian Foster on FacebookIan Foster on RssIan Foster on Twitter
Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."

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