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Dinner - A Review

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
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Wine and dine on your guests' psyches
Black Swan's latest offering on the menu of entertainment is Dinner, a blackly humourous commentary on the lives of those whose minds are wide but shallow, like soup bowls.

Dinner, Tasma Walton, Black Swan, Heath Ledger
The cast a Dinner (Photograph by Gary Marsh)

I have been fairly critical of some of Black Swan's recent productions, as in some cases they appear to have swapped the allure of a 'name' for actual skill, and the staging of some has not been of the standard we expect from the State's own theatre company.

Dinner, Tasma Walton, Black Swan, Heath Ledger
070 Kenneth Ransom, Alison van Reeken, Steve Turner, Greg McNeill, Rebecca Davis, Tasma Walton. (Photograph by Gary Marsh)

However, no criticism of any kind can accrue here - this is a faultless production. The staging, the direction, the acting, the choice of play, timing, the costumes, lighting, even the music in the very fast blackouts were all perfectly wonderful.

The play's plot is simple. Giver of famous dinner parties, hostess Paige (Tasma Walton) invites two couples to celebrate her husband Lars' new book on 'psyche drive' self-help, and presents food significant to the diners and the guests, which include a possible burglar from next door, and a waiter hired for the occasion.

Dinner, Tasma Walton, Black Swan, Heath Ledger
101 Stuart Halusz, Kenneth Ransom, Tasma Walton. (Photograph by Gary Marsh)

The play starts lightly enough, with Tasma giving a bravura comic performance as the play slowly descends darker and darker, to its inevitable, shocking end.

A point that struck me was that the play was written for the UK, set in London, and director Cherry has chosen to leave it there. A brave move and one to be applauded, since it would seem we are finally overcoming the cultural cringe. Even only a few years ago, Ms Cherry would have been under pressure to transport it to a penthouse in Melbourne.

A truly ensemble cast, with all performances uniformly high; a wonderful evening's entertainment, as the rapturous applause showed. A must-see show: Dinner, at the Heath Ledger.

Tickets are available through Ticketek. The show has adult themes and very coarse language.

Very highly recommended indeed.

Dinner, Tasma Walton, Black Swan, Heath Ledger
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Why? A superb black comedy presented superbly.
When: Various
Phone: 6212 9300
Where: Heath Ledger Theatre, 182 William Street, Perth
Cost: $32.50 to $82.50
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