Dinner: Black Swan Theatre Company

Let me set a scene. Beautiful and extravagant décor and furnishings, high ceilings, wide doors, lots of windows, paired with obvious. Within the scene stands a woman. She is dressed exquisitely; red lace and satin from head to toe and she commands the room, she owns every part of it without even trying.

Next to her is a man in a tuxedo. Tall, handsome and commanding, you can see his importance but there is understanding that their relationship, while passionate, is transactional. He is in no way owned by her.

They are perfect, not on strand of lace is out of place.

101 Stuart Halusz, Kenneth Ransom, Tasma Walton. Dinner. Image by Gary Marsh

Dinner, directed by Kate Cherry and written by Moira Buffini, is an exploration of personality, love, hatred, fear and ego. The hostess with the “mostess” throws a dinner party for her husband, a newly published author and invites four people to join them for the meal. Her choice of guest is very specific and quite peculiar. Attending is her best friends’ ex-husband – the scientist and his new (younger) wife, the newsreader; and a bohemian artist friend and ex-lover of her husband who is to be joined by her partner, the politician.

With a party of six she hires a waiter for this evening, leaving her to entertain and engage her guests while he waits on them hand and foot, never speaking a word.

The evening transpires to be an emotional roller coaster of manipulation, bitterness and utter surprise. Set within one room, you get to know each and every character and are drawn into each of their personal stories, rooting for one or the other and not being sure who to believe or side with.

Kenneth Ransom, Rebecca Davis, Steve Turner, Tasma Walton, Greg McNeill, Alison van Reeken. Dinner. Image by Gary Marsh

The on stage chemistry between characters was spot on. You could feel the desire, intrigue, hatred and distaste between them all. The staging itself laid the way for the cast to use the space as needed and gave the feel of a grand house in Greater London; it felt like you were looking straight into their home.

Accompanying the staging and performance were the costumes. Working with three WA fashion designers, costume and set designer India Mehta charged the designers with one dress each. Used to describe each characters persona, each dress represented the character perfectly. The dominance of the gown Ae’lkemi’s Alvin Fernandez created for Tasma; the bohemia and light hearted glamour of Love in Tokyo’s Sheree Dornan bought together for Alison van Reeken; and the sexiness combined with utter class that Michelle Tindale’s dress added to Rebecca Davis were show stoppers.

171 Tasma Walton. Dinner. Image by Gary Marsh

Tasma Walton gives a breathtaking experience as the most elegant, engaging and hurtful protagonist I have seen in recent times. Her ability to draw the audience in was remarkable as her behaviour, interactions and actions were less than pleasant.

The entire cast interacted beautifully and you could hear the laughter from the audience bouncing around the theatre. Tasma, Rebecca and Alison stole the show with their quick wit and commanding, harmonious presences.

Cast includes Rebecca Davis, Stuart Halusz, Greg McNeill, Kenneth Ransom, Steve Turner, Alison van Reeken and Tasma Walton.
Director Kate Cherry; Set and Lighting Designer Trent Suidgeest; Costume and Props Stylist India Mehta; Sound Design/Composer Ash Gibson Greig

Bookings at Ticketek Ph 1300 795 012 in person at venue box office or Ticketek agencies/ www.ticketek.com.au

Photo credit: Gary Marsh Photography.

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