Scripts for Supper
London theatre news: Friday 3 March 2017
Events - Shakespeare - Site specific
Masterchef 2016 semi-finalist Annie McKenzie combines her passion for food and theatre in a fun, friendly and convivial dining experience at the London Cooking Project.
Image: Annie McKenzie
Annie McKenzie is clearly a multi-talented and highly-skilled young woman.
Her one-person play 'Happiness Is A Cup of Tea' was on last November at Theatre N16 down in Balham, and it's also had runs in Edinburgh and at last year's Vault Festival.
But Ms McKenzie has another passion: cooking.
And she's obviously a highly talented cook because she made it to the semi-finals in the Masterchef 2016 series.
Now, she's concocted a new recipe for a dining experience - 'Scripts for Supper' - which brings her two big passions together.
A short bus ride from Victoria station, the setting for this fun, relaxing and convivial evening of eating combined with theatre is The London Cooking Project.
The venue is open-plan with a gleaming and well-appointed kitchen at one end of the space and a dining area at the other.
The layout means you get to see the cooks at work, and the dining area - here arranged in the form of a square - provides space for a small acting area in the middle of the diners where the actors-cum-waiters perform Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
Written around 1601, the play is one of The Bard's best-loved and most popular works, and still one of the most frequently produced.
With a length of around 2500 lines, it could easily take half a day or more to perform the entire play whilst allowing time between scenes for diners to nosh their way through the extensive five-course menu.
Thankfully, director Alex Payne has sensibly pruned the play down to manageable proportions, so we get bite-sized chunks of the play in-between courses.
The selected snippets all revolve around the love-angle in the play, which leaves out considerable tranches of the play's other sub-plots.
For this kind of dining-with-a-show experience, the choice of play really is crucial.
Eating one's way through a sizeable menu wouldn't be nearly so enjoyable set alongside a play focused on gloomy, depressing or unsettling subject-matter.
So, Twelfth Night is pretty-well an ideal choice.
And even if we miss-out on some of the more comedic characters which Shakespeare's play provides, the inventive actors milk the fun wherever they can, and the scenes are enough to give a strong and sufficient flavour of the play - certainly my fellow diners seemed to enjoy what they saw and heard, and I did too.
The food really is scrummy with plenty of different and delicate flavours to test one's palate.
It's all beautifully presented and came out of the kitchen bang on time without the slightest hitch during the 3 hour long programme.
I'm afraid hard biscuits are really not my thing for dessert - that's simply down to personal preference - but the accompanying rhubarb and rosewater jelly was a real treat.
Overall, it's an excellent, lovingly prepared menu which also seemed to find favour with my neighbouring diners - there wasn't more than a scrap of food left on any of our plates.
Here's the full menu ...
Image: Scrips for Supper menu
The tables are nicely decorated lending a late summer or harvest feel to the occasion, and even the napkins get special treatment printed with the logo and title of the event.
The multi-tasking actors switch Elizabethan costumes for aprons to serve the food, which they accomplish with bags of amiable charm.
In fact that's really the hallmark of the entire evening - delicious food and drink combined with attentive and genuinely friendly service and a deftly-acted dollop of Shakespeare for good measure.
At £65 per person, it isn't exactly a cheap evening out.
But then it's hardly a cheap evening out at West End theatres these days given ever-increasing ticket prices (especially on Friday and Saturday evenings) or even central London restaurants.
And bear in mind that drinks are included in the deal with a refreshing cocktail waiting for you on arrival, carefully-selected wines with every course, and a large dose of fabulously spicy and hoppy pale ale (my favourite drink of the evening), all topped-off with a nip of port to round-off the plentiful menu.
So the cost is actually pretty good value since the event lasts almost an entire evening, and includes food and entertainment as well.
If you miss the dinner and show combo this time round, then keep an eye on the Scripts for Supper website as the team intend taking the format to other venues across London.
Cast & crew
Image: Scripts for Supper cast and crew
Annie McKenzie - Chef & creator
Alice Devine - Sous chef
Alex Payne - Director
Clio Davies - Viola
Damien Hughes - Orsino
Alice Trow - Olivia
Edo Elia - Feste and musician
The London Cooking Project
1 Ethelburga Street
Saturday 4 March 2017
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