Dinner | Adelaide Repertory TheatreThe more you look, the more you know that there is an amazing abundance of excellent amateur theatre in Adelaide, and here is a clear example of that. Celebrating 40 years of existence, the Adelaide Rep kicked off this year’s season with a fine production of this dark comedy by Moira Buffini, neatly directed by Dave Simms, and expertly presented by this talented cast.

A dinner like no other, this play is a feast of indigestible pseudo philosophy, sychophantic admiration, machiavellian plotting, towering hypocrisy and class deconstruction, served with a sweet overlay of some lusciously funny lines.

As excellent as this production is, the real star is the script, which is a first class menu for the cast to dine out on. Helen Geoffreys is a self assured, commanding and classy hostess, with Peter Davies as a fine foil of a doomed husband who has “lost sight of the truth of his own importance”. Steve Marvanek as Hal, and Olivia Eblen as Sian spark off each other electrically, yet with completely inconsistent and shallow rapport as the script demands. Nicole Rutty is excellent as the tense, gullible and fickle artist, and Alan Fitzpatrick with his natural Irish accent fits neatly into the role of the down-to-earth gate crasher who got lost in the fog outside, but deals with the inside with considerable clarity. Meanwhile Geoff Dawes imperiously hovers as the not-so-dumb waiter with the surprise.

As much as this is a fine and enjoyable production, it has some drawbacks. The acoustic in the theatre is such that many of the important lines delivered from the dinner table which is well upstage were lost, while the delivery from the front of the stage is quite clear. Perhaps the table should not be set so far back, so that the sound doesn’t disappear into the fly gallery, while still leaving sufficient room for the downstage action.

The other thing this fine cast may well learn to manage as the season progresses is not to talk through the laughs, (which are many) so that some lines which are probably equally worth another laugh are lost. Dealing with both of these issues would considerably enhance the enjoyment of a play that is well worth seeing.

Adelaide Repertory Theatre presents
by Moira Buffini

Directed by Dave Simms

Venue: Arts Theatre | Angas Street, Adelaide
Dates: 18 – 27 April 2013
Bookings: www.trybooking.com

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