As the summer comes to an end, people are rushing to try and get in that last bit of fun. Whether it be trips to the mountains, a couple more picnics or a late-night drive-in movie. In Lakewood, The Edge Theater Company is offering up their last summer show with the delectably dark comedy “Dinner.”
This 2002 British comedy is the dinner party that we all dread and hope we never end up attending. After the success of her husband Lars’ new life guidebook, Paige throws a dinner party with some close friends. The guests include Wynne, Lars’ vegetarian lover from college; Hal, a leading scientist in the field of microbiology; Sian, Hal’s wife and cold-hearted TV news babe; and mystery guest Mike. The cast is finished off with the silent and loyal waiter.
From the moment the first guest arrives, the party rapidly spirals downhill. Every dinner table taboo is broken from inappropriate conversations to troubling menu choices.
The first course starts off with a “primordial soup.” A soup that took weeks to cook and has created its own organism, now producing oxygen. The night goes on to include live lobster, a party game that pushes people too far and dessert straight from the trash.
After coming off of two exciting and well-produced summer shows, the expectations for this “Dinner” party were high and sadly it fell short.
Although the cast had a witty and sarcastic British script that could get anyone laughing, the comedic timing of Carol Bloom (Paige) was off, losing much of the humors effect. Paige had a plethora of backhanded one-liners that could sting even the strongest party guest, but their flat and dull delivery caused the audience to skim right over them. Bloom looked and acted like a sophisticated and elegant, upper-class English bad-ass, but her flat and unchanging performance tossed the clever words out like the rest of her leftovers.
The entire show was set in the dining room, with a truly gorgeous table. The props perfectly fit the high-class setting. From the serving dishes, china and glass flower piece. The rest of the set simply consisted of two lighted drapery pieces and black walls. After two shows of stunning scenic design with “Mud Blue Sky” and “Bad Jews”, the simplistic style was a disappointing difference. Although most of the action was set at the dinner table, it took one’s mind out of the world and broke the show’s reality when attention was drawn away from it, and the action was performed against these black backgrounds. Creating a world is something that the Edge has achieved many times but missed on this one.
Verl Hite and Emily Tuckman provided two strong and compelling performances as Lars and Wynne. Hite’s rollercoaster of emotion was a joy to watch. He was able to spar with Bloom and express the years of pent up frustration and anger as well as affection that he had for Tuckman’s character.
Tuckman seemed comfortable and free as the feminist vegetarian Wynne. Her mannerisms, fluidity of movement and facial expressions all were on point with a “working-class” artist activist.
This show could be seen as making a statement about social and economic class levels. Reminding us that we are all people that started out as small, micro-celled organisms and will one day die no matter your level achieved in life. But “Dinner” is probably best served when it is swallowed as a dark and sarcastic comedy.
“Dinner” **(out of four)
“Dinner” is now playing at The Edge Theater Company, 1560 Teller St., Lakewood, CO. Directed by Scott Bellot. Starring: Carol Bloom and Verl Hite. Through Sept. 17. Tickets start at $30. For tickets visit theedgetheatre.com or 303-232-0363.