Dinner is Swerved is a good concept. A small audience attends a strange dinner party where the food doesn’t taste like the thing it looks like, there are odd speakers between courses and the whole evening is shot through with surreal experiences.
As a dinner party it’s quite good fun. Guests are encouraged to get to know each other, so it’s a good way to meet fellow Fringe-goers. Unfortunately there’s not a great deal of interaction with the performers, and it doesn’t quite live up to its potential in terms of sensory experience. The dishes served are certainly strange and the piece is at its strongest when it defies expectations of taste and texture. However, it doesn’t offer the same challenge to the other senses. Music is played and sung at intervals, but it’s pretty straightforward and mildly amusing rather than perception-challenging. Various guest speakers turn up and deliver little set-piece routines, but they’re just middle-of-the-road comedy sketches. There’s potential here to do a lot more by presenting some really interesting, challenging material or developing the characters of the host, hostess and waiters, but it’s not being realised yet.
Foodies might enjoy the bizarre dishes that are presented, and if you are looking for a mild introduction to immersive theatre it might be exactly what you’re after. It also seems likely that the energy will pick up as the run progresses, once the first night’s kinks and timing difficulties have been worked out. In the meantime, it’s a promising show but a little underpowered.
Dinner is Swerved runs at C Nova until 25 August (not 12 – 14 or 19 – 21) at 23.30. Running time is two hours.