Immersive

Ionesco/Dinner at the Smiths, Latvian House

*Disclaimer: I attended this play for free in exchange for blogging about the show. The below opinions are still my own and not influenced by this in any way

 Mr and Mrs Smith request the pleasure of your company. At this unusual dinner party, sat around a long table amongst the performers and a glass of French wine, you will be introduced to unexpected guests, have your senses played with and be made to eat your own words!

I’ve been putting off writing this review because to be honest I don’t really know what to write. Immersive theatre is a pretty absurd idea in the first place but Dinner at the Smiths really is top of the list. Based on Ionesco’s comedies – someone whom I had never heard of – and billed as a “an absurdist, immersive, bilingual (French/English) theatrical experience” I really had no idea what to expect. And to be honest, I’m still a little uncertain of what I did get.

After being greeted outside by a charmingly enthusiastic butler we were led up the winding stairs of Latvian House to the dining room and seated around a long dinner table where the plates held blindfolds instead of food. So far, so curious but what unfolded once Mr and Mrs Smith themselves took to the table was – if possible – even more peculiar.

What followed was a few different scenes where the characters seem to talk in absolute gibberish, not particularly interesting but weirdly compelling at the same time mainly due to the actors playing them and the attention to detail they’ve given their personalities. The standouts for me in this show were Jorge Laguardia and Sharlit Deyzac as the Butler and Maid whose manic yet cheerful demeanour sets the tone of the show from the get go.

There is a particularly odd scene that introduces the Smiths dinner guests the Martin’s where the two go back and forth purporting to have never met but ending with the conclusion they are in fact married and share a home.

The dinner party is also peppered with small breaks where Mr Martin seamlessly transforms into Ionesco himself and tries to give his work a bit more context. I have to say I’m still none the wiser! I’m not sure anything could explain donning a blindfold for the duration of the interval.

It’s a show that you probably have to experience for yourself as it’s the acting that makes it and luckily you can as it’s running at Latvian House every Friday and Saturday until April 1st.

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