As a reviewer and human being I am always anxious about the word ‘parody’, a good parody can be exceptional but a bad parody can embarrassing. In combination with an ambitious dining experience was this going to be a triumph or disaster.
Ami Stidolph & Sam Carrack’s Dinner is Coming, produced by The Vaults is a triumph not only for dining theatre (which I had a horrible time with at Divine Proportions) but also for immersive productions. For rights reasons we join a Game of Thrones like universe in Easteros, amongst the several kingdoms where Jaffery Bearathon (Laurence Pears), son of Kirsty Bannister (Janina Smith) and nephew/son of Jimmy Bannister is marrying the lovely Margarine Trywell and you are invited to the festivities along with Carly Easy (Georgia Clarke-Day) who has brought some definitely intimidating dragons along as her plus one.
As in Game of Thrones it doesn’t quite go to plan and as guests of wedding, now wake, you make your allegiance through wristbands and if you are really lucky as my friend Emma Burnell and I you might be recruited to a spy ring led by Varicouse (Liam Fleming) to find out who did murder the young King (and his younger brother).
It is a testament to this production that I wasn’t desperately waiting for food. I was enjoying the immersive elements so much that I could have just enjoyed it as a production, rich in humour, great improvisation from Janina Smith as Kirsty who barely hid her disdain and fury at not being able to go for the throne as well. Newton-John as Margarine channelled Kate Middleton as the quietly calculating Queen who on appearances just seems delighted to be there and I enjoyed working with Liam Fleming as we secretly worked out what happened.
Dinner is a highlight, the term “Pudding is Coming” created whoops of delight and the menu is great, the portions plentiful (there was food leftover) and dinner served up some of the best scenes with Pears returning as Johns Know, an uninvited guest from the North who is as stupid as he is handsome.
Ultimately it is a really fun night out, I got to dress up in a cheap costume from Ebay, I got to sit on the Wooden Throne (Jessica Fox’s set design is stunning work) and it is a real delight to see a production that really knows what its audience expects from immersive dining. After having my doubts Dinner is Coming proved that you can successfully combine an immersive experience with delicious food. It is a really fun night out, whether you are GoT’s biggest fan or know nothing like Jon Snow.
Dinner is Coming is on until 2 June. Tickets from £35 https://www.thevaults.london/dinner-is-coming