If good theatre is food for the soul, then Scripts for Supper will leave both soul and tummy very well fed! The brainchild of 2016 MasterChef semi-finalist, Annie McKenzie, Scripts for Supper is a night of superb Elizabethan dining, perfectly punctuated by excerpts of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Nestled away in Battersea, the London Cooking project lends itself perfectly to the intimate theatre and dining experience, providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere accentuated by the open plan design, which extends itself to the kitchen. Simple decorations and soft lighting complete the atmosphere, immersing you in the experience and shutting you off from the rainy outside world for a few glorious hours.
Upon arrival, guests are presented with cocktails and canapes which are then followed by a delectable four-course feast. It’s almost impossible to determine which of the 5 courses is a favourite as each and every course is divine!
During an elegant dining experience, every course should be accompanied with the perfect beverage and while this is indeed the case, each course at Scripts for Supper is also accompanied by an excerpt from the great bard himself. Many theatre restaurants I have attended in the past have struggled to achieve a balance between the dining and theatrical elements, having clear distinctions between the performance part of the evening and the dining experience; however, this was not the case in any way.
Director Alex Payne ingeniously isolates pivotal scenes from the original text that can be easily integrated without disrupting the flow of the night. The result is an ebb and flow between dining and performance that leaves you highly satisfied after each course, be it food or theatre!
The small cast of three are exceptional, doubling as waitstaff and effortlessly slipping between roles.
Clio Davies’ Viola carries a strength and intensity that is equally matched by Damien Hughes Orsiono. Hughes also provides a number of memorable comedic moments during his brief portrayal of some of the supporting roles, demonstrating versatility and ensuring the humour of the piece is not lost. Alice Trow completes the love triangle as Olivia, elegantly portraying the role while simultaneously establishing a candid relationship with the audience as she fills in the gaps with pivotal plot points not covered in the performance. The three work with synchronicity and harmony and are as engaging as they are entertaining!
Completing the cast is incredibly talented musician Edo Elia. Constantly interacting with the audience, Elia provides the backbone for the atmosphere of the night through his musical accompaniment and banter with audience members, while also facilitating the transitions between dining courses and theatrical excerpts. His performance as feste is a comic highlight which leaves you wishing we could have seen more!
Scripts for Supper is a perfectly balanced collaboration of food and theatre that satisfies all appetites. A phenomenal debut production, I can only hope that Twelfth Night is the first of many events yet to come; for this to be a one-off would certainly leave audiences to starve in more ways than one!
Review by Cassandra Griffin
Scripts for Supper at The London Cooking Project in Battersea on Friday 3rd March 2017.