'Dinner' is a play containing strong adult themes, references and language and, to quote the programme, is: unsuitable for under 18s. Would I be shocked I asked myself? Well if I was, it was a welcome shock because this was first class entertainment . Presented in the round, Joanne Rymer's direction brought the intimacy of the piece into sharp focus and gave an almost cinemagraphic quality to the action by drawing out in close-up the subtleties of expression and individual characters of the players. From the very start there was a feeling that there were underlying currents which would only manifest themselves as the story unwound.
Tia Gill as Paige the hostess was superb as the instigator of the proceedings. What was she up to? Whatever it was at no point did she escape her characterisation. I was sitting directly opposite her and her facial expressions and actions could not have more in keeping with the part. As her husband Lars (Martin Riley seemingly at odds with his wife and victim of his wife’s barbed comments held his ground spendidly.
Debbie Colclough’s portrayal of Wynne was good enough to make me annoyed with her from the start, in the best possible way - her dress, manner and voice absolutely right for a person most likely NOT to be invited again!
Then there was Hal,( Michael Kennedy) renowned scientist and his wife Sian (Jenny Rae), a TV personality. Once again with simmering undercurrents, Sian often seemingly to be above it all and Hal almost at times at the centre of the various situations which arose and not sure how to react to them.
Their unwelcome (yet for some, welcome) guest was played by Richard Dodd as Mike; was he a van driver or a thief? His character emerged more and more as the action progressed and his way of swaying back and forth as he talked was so typical.
With only three or four lines of dialogue at most, Greg Jones as The Waiter loomed large indeed. For much of the time standing almost in shadow at the side, he brought a lingering air of menace which left you with the feeling that there was much more to him than Paige and he ever gave away. Excellent performance this, culminating in the final moments when all was revealed.
The author Moira Buffini worked her magic in the intricacies of the characters and the dialogue, did they really dislike each other, of were they simply bored with it all? What was really behind the giving of the dinner?. Combine this with fine direction from Joanne Rymer, splendid acting from all the players, and indeed the work of the whole on-and-offstage team, and you have the makings of a wonderful night’s entertainment, which it was.
Budge Grounsell, NODA Regional Representative, November 2013
PAIGE Tia Gill
LARS Martin Riley
WYNNE Debbie Colclough
HAL Michael Kennedy
SIAN Jenny Rae
MIKE Richard Dodd
WAITER Greg Jones
DIRECTOR Jo Rymer
13th - 16th November 2013
Greg Jones - Best Supporting Actor in a Drama - WON
Tia Gill - Best Supporting Female in a Drama - NOMINATED
Deborah Colcolugh - Best Leading Female in a Drama - NOMINATED
Jo Rymer - Best Director - NOMINATED