CHEF Come Dine With Us

TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

26/08/2017 - 27/08/2017

Charles Luney Auditorium (St Margaret's College), Christchurch

30/08/2017 - 01/09/2017


Production Details

With all the ingredients for a sizzling show, Chef – Come Dine With Us is a deliciously funny romp on the big stage.

Slapstick comedy, brilliant break-dancing and breath-taking beat-boxing are thrown into the mix for this laugh-a-second performance loosely based around food.

The premise is a crazy competition between two chefs – red chef and green chef – with the audience called on to help choose the winner.

South Korean pop music and insanely talented beat-boxers provide the soundtrack for this food show parody, which is cheeky and at times totally bonkers.

A fast-paced visual feast, Chef is perfect for all the family and may just be the unsung hit of the festival.

Chef rolls from one gag to the next as the cast gleefully subvert their own set pieces time after time. They pack comedy, dance, music and sketches into a fantastic hour of entertainment.” – Edinburgh Evening News

To the point: Sizzling food show/deliciously funny/slapstick comedy/break-dancing/beat-boxing/cheeky and bonkers/fast-paced visual feast.

TSB Theatre, TSB Showplace
Sat, Aug 26, 7.30pm
Sun, Aug 27, 2pm

Christchurch Arts Festival 2017
Charles Luney Auditorium, Christchurch
WED 30 AUG – FRI 01 SEP 2017
6:30 pm
$49 / Conc $45
Family $145 – 4 tickets with max 2 adults, add up to 2 extra child tickets $40 each
Student Rush $20
*Fees & conditions apply, see How to Book.

Theatre , Physical , Comedy ,

1 hr 10 mins

A joyous and exhausting night of manic entertainment

Review by Erin Harrington 31st Aug 2017

Korean comedy Chef: Come Dine With Us is a tremendously bonkers anarchic romp through a competitive kitchen, and it provides an utterly gorgeous entrée to this year’s Christchurch Arts Festival.

The narrative scaffold is simple: two competing chefs, one in red, and one in green, compete to serve up the best national dish in an attempt to please a series of very up for it ‘volunteers’. They are supported by some comic ‘apprentices’ – two singers (a sexy one, a cute one); two breakdancers (a buff one, a doofus) – who come together like a culinary Voltron. Joining them are two impressive beatboxers, whose vocal acrobatics provide the kitchen’s extraordinary soundscape.

Between them, the eight performers are like a cartoon comedy supergroup, cranking out nearly 90 minutes of high energy singing, dancing, gymnastics, and b-boying, all stitched together with some very sharp physical comedy and dynamic lighting and sound design. It’s a joyous and exhausting night of manic entertainment, a fine example of how to manage audience participation, and a rare show that genuinely appeals to all ages.

Part of the challenge of an intense, high energy show like this is to find ways to surprise the audience and to keep our energy up. While the performers often subvert or dismantle their own jokes and characterisations, to delightful effect, this is particularly achieved through a series of increasingly absurd detours, some of which take good advantage of some AV trickery and increasingly ridiculous props and set pieces. One sushi-related sequence, in particular, is utterly magical and entirely unexpected, and highlights the elastic physical logic of the performance space.

As I leave my hands are raw from clapping and I am left wondering about some of the mechanics of the show: does the action change depending on which of the chefs is chosen by the audience, and which of the dishes is deemed the best?

 I am a little frustrated, though, by the lack of supporting material supplied. As an audience member and as a writer I’d love to know who the performers are, and even the name of the company presenting the work, without having to resort to some late night Googling, in order to give the kitchen staff the credit that they deserve.


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It is crazy. Really crazy. And it works.

Review by Lisa Simpson 27th Aug 2017

Take one kitchen, two chefs, two beatboxers, four contestants and a pinch of audience participation. Add madcap physical comedy and you have the recipe for a whole lot of fun.  

The premise of this performance is a Korean cooking show. Cooking shows are very popular in South Korea, where television cooking is performance art and its chefs are celebrities in their own right.

We are introduced to two rival chefs: exuberant Green Chef is presented as the underdog to the more robust and operatic Red Chef. From the beginning the audience is treated to a mixture of slapstick, dance and song as the rival chefs compete to cook specified dishes. The chefs leave the stage to interact with the audience, selecting people to aid in their endeavours and to judge the dishes. They pick over audience members as they would ingredients: married – no good; beautiful – not beautiful enough … They win us over in a heart-beat. 

Four contestants are introduced. They are character types played with energy and commitment. There is the cute girl, the muscle boy, the sexy girl and the rookie chef. The performers play to these character types but also cleverly play against them at times.

It is this ability to make fun of the fun that gives the show depth. Where high energy physical humour could become wearisome, the performers change gear, rebuke themselves, each other and us, surprise and charm us.  Tricks are performed then exposed, adding a refreshing dash of spice to what could otherwise be too slick and sugary.

All perform with total commitment and an infectious enjoyment. The audience clap with gusto, not with the self-conscious sing-along cringe so often experienced in a New Zealand theatre. The house lights come on again and again as more members of the audience are used in comic gags – and the audience members rise to the challenge and almost steal the show.  One even receives a cheer as she leaves the theatre at the end of the evening, an instant celebrity herself.

The performers themselves are highly skilled singers, dancers and beat boxers. Moves are performed with perfect timing. Facial expressions morph before our eyes. Lighting is used to give the show all the glitz of a gameshow. The black light underwater puppetry scene is sublime.

Props are used with all the flair of a circus act. Trick sides of salmon are diced instantly for sushi, there are never ending bowls of noodles and a rubber chicken performs with (almost) death-defying skill. The beatboxers provide astounding sound effects that accentuate, embellish and at times drive the action.

It is crazy. Really crazy. And it works. The measure of the show is the audience response. I have never seen anyone practically run back down the aisle to their seat from a bathroom break before. The performers receive a well-deserved standing ovation. This show delivers. 


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