An Evening Of Meat review: Feminist theatre meets fine dining ★★★
Ever been treated like a piece of meat? Then this oddball piece of theatre mixed with a fine dining experience will intrigue you, but probably not in the way you’d expect.
The title of the show suggests protest and opposition at the misuse of the human body, so we’d expected this particular evening of meat to provocatively feature absolutely no meat at all.
That way, the show would illustrate how we needn’t abuse meat (be it animal or a person’s body) to get along.
We thought maybe a lively dish of trendy plant-based food would be the surprise that was served.
How wrong could we be! What we got instead was a six-course fine dining meal centring around cuts of truly spectacular, divine and delicious….real, actual meat.
We ate carpaccio of dry-aged beef and braised mutton shoulder with sweet garden peas and spearmint. We ate melt-in-mouth rare breed pig cheek oyster and a crisp pancetta with yeast beurre noisette.
All the while, acrobatic dancers with finessed moves writhed around on top of banqueting tables lined with diners who split their time between eating and staring at the ambitious choreography going on not feet, but inches away from their faces.
The dancing began slow and subtle, and evolved into a chaotic survival of the fittest as the cast, led by creative director Kate March, physically claw at one another to hold each other back.
The dance troupe pose in startling ways that leave incredible impressions in the mind.
Unlike other immersive dining shows, the performance doesn’t let up throughout the duration of a meal that lasts over two hours.
Occasionally the performance intensifies to the point where idle dinner chatter is usurped by throbbing techno music, and a lights-out effect where the circus style performance intensifies with the help of professional lighting tricks.
The pace of the choreography is matched by the physical endurance of these fabulous dancers.
Sometimes they interact with the audience and play with empty bottles of wine or wasted napkins as they stomp, crawl and claw their way along the dining tables.
There is an absence of obvious narrative but a heavy, defining sense of uncomfortable competition between women.
The food is spectacular, but struggles to find harmony with the protest themes of the thrilling show.
Rather than meat being a dirty word, it is sumptuous and delicious on the plate.
We’re not complaining – both performance and dinner were radical (and both had very good taste!) but there is a disconnect between the luxury food and the politically charged action.
Regardless, it’s reassuring to see an immersive dining show that realises diners don’t want to have to be invested in a narrative while they’re having dinner.
Telling a story visually is much more appropriate when you’re attempting to pull diners away from their precious food and wine.
An Evening O fMeat runs at The Vaults until April 22nd | Buy tickets here
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