A Very Splendid Dinner Party

Centrepoint - Dark Room, Palmerston North

17/07/2008 - 19/07/2008

Production Details

"Hello, it’s Nathan here.

My wife Alice and I would love you to come to ‘A Very Splendid Dinner Party. And we don’t mean a general ‘you’, we mean ‘you’ in particular. You are the elite. And the elite is what we need.

You’re going to have so much fun at this dinner party. Possibly more fun than you’ve ever had. You’ll walk away saying "I’ve just beaten my Personal Best in terms of how much fun I’ve had during one evening". That’s how much fun we’re talking.

So please come along. There’s no danger at our dinner party, everything will be perfectly fine and safe. Yes…safe. No danger.

See you there.

From Nathan and Alice".

A genuinely splendid piece of theatre by Brad McCormack and Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu

There are only 14 seats per performance and show starts at 10.45pm!!!
So bookings are absolutely essential. BOOK NOW ON (06) 3545740 to avoid disappointment. 

Set and Lighting by the devisors with support from the Centrepoint Team

Inventive immersion experience offers novel and surreal entertainment

Review by Richard Mays 22nd Jul 2008

The ‘elite’ gather in the refurbished foyer of The Dark Room. They comprise a ‘super 14’ (give or take) guest list for what promises to be an exclusive occasion. Hosts Alice and Nathan Muggeridge themselves arrive fashionably late, seeing as how both had just come off stage from performances as someone else in The Gods of Warm Beer next door at Centrepoint.

To start with, a sliding door revealed the performers in separate attitudinal cameos, and already there’s a feeling all is not quite right with this couple. But then together, unexpectedly they burst into a scene from the movie Casablanca as Bogart’s Rick and Bergman’s Ilsa. Perhaps they are on the same team after all.

From there, it’s through the rest of the foyer to the box-office and what turns out to be a tragic introduction to Sugarplum, Nathan’s sock-puppet hippopotamus (?). But the overly ingratiating Nathan is determined that we all have "Fun", and next stop in this perambulatory progress is the "Fun" room.

An uptight Alice escorts guests two at a time to the dining table, and the first "course". At the table there is an abortive game of Pictionary, a revelation that the food everyone has just eaten has been poisoned, and a séance which has dinner guests crouching together under the long dining table. A dead body is discovered in a side room; dessert happens; and there is a bizarre confession from Nathan.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the dinner party is under attack by some form of home invasion; guests are evacuated from the dining area and herded back to the foyer. There is another dead body; and blood, and for one of the characters, a satisfactory denouement.

This inventive immersion experience is part improv, part send-up of theatre-restaurant like Faulty Towers and interactive parlour games Cluedo and Whodunnit, and part installation that makes use of every square metre of space the Dark Room has to offer. While Alice and Nathan snipe at one another throughout, their actors, Brad McCormick and Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu, always maintain control over increasingly bemused but always respectfully compliant patrons.

Given the conventions, the tacit agreement between performers and audience worked well, and A Very Splendid Dinner Party turned out to be both novel and surreal entertainment. And fun.
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