Comedy by Moira 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...
Originally seen at the National Theatre's temporary 'Loft Space' in 2002, Moira Buffini re-wrote the play for its West End Premiere the following year.
PLEASE NOTE: This play contains profanity and is not suitable for children.
Moira Buffini's other West End theatre plays include Handbagged at the Vaudeville Theatre 2014.
Original London Production 2002
Previewed 14 November, Opened 18 November 2002, Closed 14 December 2002 at the National Theatre's Loft Theatre
The cast featured Harriet Walter as 'Paige' and Nicholas Farrell as 'Lars', with Penny Downie as 'Wynne', Catherine McCormack as 'Sian', Paul Rattray as 'Mike', Adrian Rawlins as 'Hal', and Christopher Etteridge as 'Waiter'.
Directed by Fiona Buffini, with designs by Rachel Blues, lighting by Peter Bull, and sound by Rich Walsh.
The Loft Theatre was a temporary 100-seater studio theatre used while parts of the National Theatre where being refurbished.
Original West End London Production 2003
Previewed 4 December 2003, Opened 9 December 2003, Closed 3 April 2004 at the Wyndham's Theatre
A major revival of Moira Buffini's comedy Dinner in London starring Harriet Walter and Nicholas Farrell
The cast featured Harriet Walter as 'Paige' and Nicholas Farrell as 'Lars', with Penny Downie as 'Wynne', Flora Montgomery as 'Sian', Paul Kaye as 'Mike', Adrian Lukis as 'Hal', and Paul Sirr as 'Waiter'.
Directed by Fiona Buffini, with designs by Rachel Blues, lighting by Mark Hendeson, and sound by Rich Walsh.
Harriet Walter's London theatre credits include playing the roles of 'Julie Cavendish' in Peter Hall's revival of the Edna Ferber and George S Kaufman comedy The Royal Family at the Haymarket Theatre in 2001; 'Sonia' in Matthew Warchus's production of Yasmina Reza's Life x3 at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 2000, and transfer to the West End's Old Vic Theatre in 2001; 'Anna Pretrovna' in Jonathan Kent's revival of Anton Chekhov's Ivanov at the Almeida Theatre in 1997; 'Anna' in Lindy Davies' revival of Harold Pinter's Old Times at the Wyndham's Theatre in 1995; and 'Masha' in John Barton's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Barbican Theatre in 1988.
Nicholas Farrell's London stage credits include playing the roles of 'The Prince of Wales' in Sam Mendes' revival of Jean Paul Sartre's Kean at the Old Vic Theatre in 1990; and 'Tuzenbach' in John Barton's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Barbican Theatre in 1988.
"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: Tom Stoppard's fogbound The Real Inspector Hound and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, sprinkled with Joe Orton's disgusting bad taste and garnished with Alan 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.