BOOKFEAST, 173 Jackson St, Petone, Hutt Valley

29/11/2011 - 04/12/2011

Production Details

Geraldine Brophy’s latest play, MEAT is inspired by the current trend for watching cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, both local and international.

Reinvigorating our taste buds for life. 

The depth of experience offered by the world of ‘quick and easy’ makes us long for the slow and sensual indulgences that we instinctively know mean quality.

Things that only time care and skill can render.

Like Life really.

As well as teasing our taste buds, MEAT takes a humorous look at our attitudes to perfection, the new religion of self- improvement and our love hate relationship with butter and cream and flesh. 

Celebrity chef, Abe Millar, cooks a dish called Crying Lamb live on stage and intersperses it with tall tales from his life.  

His  journey through personal relationships and the central love for his autistic son, Isaac, form the basis of this warm and witty story woven inside a cooking class. 

Set in New Zealand and starring actor K. C. Kelly, MEAT offers an unusual mix of entertainment style for the Foodie and Theatre buff alike.

Geraldine Brophy is delighted to present the world premiere of MEAT at BOOKFEAST, Petone’s specialist cookery bookstore and demonstration kitchen, for a limited season of 6 performances: 
173 Jackson St. Petone 
Tuesday November 29 to Sunday December 4th.  
8 pm. 
Tickets  $35 [includes a glass of wine and nibbles.] 

E mail  
Phone 5760486  
BOOKFEAST, 173 Jackson St, Petone  

Feast of entertainment as chef relates to vegetables

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 05th Dec 2011

Abe Millar, a star chef, welcomes his audience to his cooking demonstration like a high priest ushering pilgrims into a holy place and it is made clear unbelievers such as vegetarians and vegans (his eyes roll and he can barely utter the word) should sit in the back row and be quiet.

George Bernard Shaw is his bete noir and his response to Shaw’s, “It is nearly fifty years since I was assured by a conclave of doctors that if I did not eat meat I should die of starvation” would be that he had died fifty years ago because he was avoiding with puritanical zeal the greatest of sensual pleasures, particularly when it is washed down with a good wine. One should always have a drink at hand when cooking is one of Abe’s rules. 

A leg of lamb is placed ceremoniously on a bed of vegetables and each vegetable is given its own song of praise as it is prepared for the dish: he gets completely carried away with a red capsicum which he talks to as if he were Hamlet talking to Yorick’s skull, while a parsnip brings forth a Shakespearean quotation, and butter is added to the dish with a devil-may-care attitude.

The cooking demonstration takes place at a bench by a stove but nearby at a small bar Abe takes time out to relate how a Jewish New Yorker ended up in New Zealand and he reveals in guilt-ridden episodes memories of his younger days and his relationships with his New Zealand wife, Sarah, and their autistic son, Isaac, and his no-nonsense vegan Australian manager Bernice.

The contrasts between the pleasures of life and its harsher realities are finely balanced in Geraldine Brophy’s richly-worded script and given flight by KC Kelly’s seductive performance of near-Falstaffian exuberance and humour undercut by moments of anguish and pain.  

This solo show is performed in Bookfeast Bookshop, one of only two specialist cook book shops in the country, and this added to the experience, though we never got to taste or even smell the earlier prepared dish with which all cooking shows end.   


Make a comment

Rich pleasures and poignancies

Review by John Smythe 01st Dec 2011

’Tis meet we meet for Meat at Bookfeast: a specialist shop in Jackson Street, Petone. With a demonstration kitchen at one end, it offers an ideal intimate setting for this development season of Geraldine Brophy’s latest tasty theatrical treat, served up with seductive love by K C Kelly.

If there is one thing Abe Millar does well, it’s cooking meat. The depth of his passion for animal flesh has been echoed in the hedonistic lifestyle he embraced back in his hometown New York, then Sydney, en route to becoming an early model celebrity chef. If you are vegetarian, he will tolerate you, as he does his business manager Bernice; daughter of an Australian sheep farmer and (therefore?) a practising ‘vego’ (Kelly does a mean Aussie accent). But if you are vegan, wear a thick skin.

On the menu tonight is Crying Lamb. His preparation of an actual leg, liberally garnished with garlic, rosemary, salt, butter, richly articulated erudition and a deeply sensuous relationship with the object of our shared desire, is positively sybaritic. Each vegetable – capsicum, aubergine, courgette /zucchini, tomato, onion, potato, parsnip, carrot – is given its special value before it takes its place as part of the bed on which the leg lies.

Speaking of beds … As a side dish (served from a different counter under different lighting), the story of Abe’s other love life emerges; specifically with Kiwi Sarah, who – “Jesus Christ and Martha Stewart!” – loves meat! And sex. But not chilli peppers. Pregnancy leads to marriage and, four years on, a return to New Zealand, for Sarah and Isaac, their autistic son …

Being Jewish, Abe is prone to guilt. The pitting of his skill and talent as a chef against his shortcomings as a husband and father – of the profligate indulgences of youth against the responsibilities of adulthood – make for an absorbing and entertaining 80 minutes. 

Brophy’s rich text blends beautifully with Kelly’s engaging invitation to share in Meat‘s pleasures and poignancies.  His A-grade chef persona is very convincing.   

Nibbles and a glass of wine are included in the $35 ticket price, and given a venue that holds only 30-something, that’s generous.  What would add to the experience would be a practical oven that emanates aromas from the inevitable ‘dish prepared earlier’. And Kelly’s Abe has sold us so well on his Crying Lamb that we cannot help but salivate at the prospect of a taste. But no, it’s a play, it’s make-believe, and there would be economic, not to mention Health Department implications in dishing up an actual tasting every night.

Fair enough. Always leave them wanting more … 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council