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Previewed 4 December 2003, Opened 9 December 2003, Closed 3 April 2004 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London
A major revival of Moira Buffini's comedy Dinner in London starring Harriet Walter and Nicholas Farrell and directed by Fiona Buffini.
An artist, a scientist and a sexpot are coming to dinner. Paige, hostess extraordinaire, is celebrating the publication of her husband's best-seller. The arrival of Mike, marooned in the foggy lane having crashed his van, provides an un-expected addition to the evening's entertainment. A silent waiter, sourced from an obscure website, completes the picture. Primordial Soup is first on the menu let the dinner from hell begin...
The cast for Dinner in London features Harriet Walter as 'Paige', Nicholas Farrell as 'Lars' and Adrian Lukis as 'Hal' with Penny Downie as 'Wynne', Paul Kaye as 'Mike', Flora Montgomery as 'Sian' and Paul Sirr. It is directed by Fiona Buffini with designs by Rachel Blues, lighting by Mark Hendeson and sound by Rich Walsh. Originally seen at the National Theatre's temporary 'Loft Space' during November and December 2002, Moira Buffini has now re-written the lay and it is presented in the West End in a recast production. PLEASE NOTE: This play contains profanity and is not suitable for children.
"Moira Buffini has rewritten Dinner since it premiered at a tiny temporary theatre at the National, and it's now a tighter, more focused piece that holds up a darkly distorting fairground mirror to the anorexic morality and overblown egos of the superrich and apparently successful. It still has the feel of a collation: Stoppard's fogbound The Real Inspector Hound and Albee's Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, sprinkled with Orton's disgusting bad taste and garnished with Ayckbourn's insight and comic timing. But if, in the end, it's less a feast than a dramatic dog's dinner, it's still frequently lethally funny and the performances are a treat." The Mail on Sunday
"Hell is a dinner party. Moira Buffini's play is a piece of social satire, and, like all satirists, she is driven by mixed motives: fascination, curiosity, hatred and a sneaking, almost decadent, affection. How could you not feel some love for monsters who can give you such vitriolically elegant lines?... The play is a still life: the plot is almost superfluous. The ending, part murderous, part optimistic, doesn't quite work: it fits Buffini's ideas, but doesn't earn its keep as drama. Does evil really destroy itself? News to me. No, see this play for its poisonous wit and for the superlative performances: seven sinister chamber musicians, beautifully balanced, playing a dark sonata of the undead." The Sunday Times
"Harriet Walter is Paige, an elegant, acid-tongued hostess who is throwing a grand dinner for the publication of her husband's new claptrap bestseller... The whole meal becomes a gladiatorial combat between Paige and her smug writer-husband - the excellent Nicholas Farrell. The comedy is full of one-liners, competitive nastiness and embarrassing revelations... I am not entirely sure what satirical point the writer is making, but Dinner's blend of farce and the grotesque is at best disgracefully funny. At worst, it's simply over the top. If you like extra portions of poison and bile with your drama, then I recommend this show from the West End's otherwise bland comedy menu." The Daily Express
"The result is an evening of good mean fun. There are clever jokes and a bubbling stream of grotesque detail. Harriet Walter is magnificently bored and bitchy. Nicholas Farrell is impressively swinish, a Lars you love to hate. The guests add a great deal to the proceedings, especially Penny Downie as a dishevelled, fey, desperately earnest artist. Flora Montgomery as a sexy newscaster and Adrian Lukis as an insecure scientist make the most of their parts. So do Paul Kaye as an uninvited guest and Paul Sirr as the waiter. Now and then, however, you can't help wishing for something more... But perhaps we should simply accept it for what it is - as a wheeze, a jape, a kind of Roald Dahl for grown-ups. At that level, it certainly works: if anything, I found it rather more enjoyable than I did the first time round at the National." The Sunday Telegraph
Dinner in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 4 December 2003, opened on 9 December 2003 and closed on 3 April 2004.