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The Grand Expedition from Gingerline | Review

Gingerline Cast - The Great ExpeditionReviewing a Gingerline evening poses a problem – how to describe a production that you are not allowed to tell anybody about? Location, menu and details about the performance are all a ferociously guarded secret that we are under strict instructions not to reveal, in order to preserve the aura of mystery and element of surprise that is so key to these experiences.

Gingerline is the brainchild of Suzannah Montfort and Kerry Adamson, a duo of passionate and imaginative foodies, determined to elevate the humble supper party to a multisensory extravaganza. After eight years, I think it is safe to say they have succeeded. They now have three distinct experiences on offer: Flavourology; The Chambers of Flavour; and Gingerline itself.

The latest Gingerline adventure, which I was privileged to attend last night, is billed as a “floating, feeding, falling dream”, and if that sounds bizarre, well – it is.

Following directions received by text, and feeling rather like spies, we arrived at a distinctly insalubrious and rather sinister looking building. After a nerve-racking few minutes – had we been lured here to meet our doom? – we were ushered into what can only be described as a surreal, otherworldly universe. We were no longer in London; we were in a timeless world of colour, noise, delicious smells and frenetic activity, animated by some extremely unusual beings.

Once we were seated at our improbable table, and had introduced ourselves to our equally baffled and enchanted fellow diners, the dinner proper began. And what a dinner it was. Each course was presented with panache and showmanship. I initially suspected that the food would be a postscript to the show, but I was very much mistaken – the chefs really know their stuff. Each morsel was an intriguing, unexpected, exquisitely crafted delight.

The entire dinner was punctuated with film, music and performance. Audience participation is by no means obligatory, but I think you’ll have more fun if you let go and surrender yourself to the madness. Despite the apparent chaos everything was impeccably organised and smoothly choreographed, and the staff/performers carried out their tasks with cheerful efficiency and unflagging energy.

If I had one criticism, it is that the quality of the sound system was not tip-top, meaning that some of the beautifully scripted audio was lost in the general melee. Nevertheless, we heard enough for the story to make sense – in a very strange way – and to enjoy the dreamlike journey.

So in summary, and with all due respect to the rules: We went to a strange and wonderful place, we ate some extraordinarily good food, we met some unforgettable characters, and we had a simply marvellous time.

5 Star Rating

Review by Genni Trickett

It is commonly known, in the society of aeronauts, astrologers, dreamers and all who divine such things, that every half-a-century the spirits of the air, summon the fearless to a Grand Expedition. Adventurers and travellers are called to venture; to go forth, forage and feast.”

The Grand Expedition will take budding aeronauts on a journey, beyond the clouds and back, for 5 fantastical courses, at a top-secret, long forgotten location, somewhere on the Victoria Line.
https://www.thegrandexpedition.co.uk/

Author

  • Genni Trickett

    Genni is one of the senior reviewers for LondonTheatre1.com, contributing regularly with reviews for London and regional shows. Genni has been passionate about theatre from an early age, performing in various productions throughout school and university. She is currently an enthusiastic member of an amateur dramatic society in South West London. Her favourite thing about living in London is the breath-taking variety of shows and theatrical talent. https://www.facebook.com/genevieve.trickett

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