Friday, 5 February 2016

Dinner is Served - Fringe World 2016 (4 February 2016)

The humble dinner party. An event full of potential land mines that could ruin friendships, end relationships, hospitalise guests, and be the cause of any number of social transgressions that will see you ostracised to the couch in your pyjamas eating pizza alone for all eternity.

Thank goodness we have Megan Kozak and Harry Prouse to guide us through the harrowing and, quite frankly, terrifying prospect of inviting people over for dinner. I mean, there’s so much to consider – what to wear, where to hold your soiree (if the Ellington Jazz Club is inconveniently unavailable), what entertainment to provide, what to talk about… oh, and I suppose what to serve.  

Speaking of which, Harry forgot to go to the butchers before the show so the promise of succulent lamb roast was but a fleeting expectation for my tastebuds (so cruelly dashed!). Good news though, the Ellington does a nice range of pizzas and other finger foods.

Clearly, however, such culinary pearls of wisdom can only be delivered with a healthy accompaniment of songs. Coincidentally, an accomplished piano player happened to be in attendance, one David Wickham of WAAPA renown. Fancy that!

It was an eclectic mix of songs. I would be tempted to say ‘pot luck’ except I’m fearful Megan would attack me with a cocktail fork. There were appropriately themed musical theatre numbers from some of the greats (Cole Porter, Kander & Ebb, ahem, Beauty and the Beast); a scoop of Sinatra, a dash of Nat King Cole, and, if I’m not mistaken, a pinch of Frankie Valli amongst others.

Sure, Megan and Harry may clash over how to host the perfect gastronomic evening but one thing they do share is the ability to belt out a song with the best of them. The singing is excellent as is the piano playing by Mister Wickham.

What was perhaps even more impressive is the rapport the two WAAPA graduates shared on stage. It was comfortable and relaxed like a 50s screwball comedy as they exchanged barbs and banter with some lovely physical comedy and sight gags thrown in for good measure.

Kozak had a touch of a blonde Lucille Ball as she ranted about the fatal error of asking guests to bring dishes at random or ‘pot luck’ as she called it. Or threatening to walk out... at least as far as her microphone cord would allow. Prouse was more the straight man but injected his own sly sense of humour as the two bounced off each other over the course of 45 punchy minutes. There’s even a little audience participation. All I’ll say about that is be prepared to show off your table presentation skills. 

Dinner is Served is on for two more nights at the Ellington Jazz Club, 10-11 February at 7pm. To use a dinner metaphor, this is a perfect entree for an evening in the city while Fringe is on. 

Order a drink, have a pizza and a laugh but as all dinner hosts know, once the show is over it’s time to fire up the vacuum and tell your guests to get the hell out. At least you’ll do so with a smile on your face.

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