Tag: dinner party

REVIEW: Bare Elements Productions presents A Dinner to Die For

A killer comedic dinner

By Myron My

I do love a good murder mystery. I’ve spent countless hours playing Cluedo (and watching the film religiously) and even hosted a few of my own murder mystery dinner parties. So when I saw one was being produced by Bare Elements Productions during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I knew I had to get involved.


A Dinner to Die For is set in 1928, and we are invited to Lord Quinten Daventry’s (Craig Thompson) birthday dinner at his grand home. Invited are many of his good friends (and perhaps some of his not so good friends), including Fanny Farquar (Charlotte Strantzen), Great Uncle Bernie (Simon J Robinson), Captain Montague Smedley-Downes (Ben Loxham) and Gwendella Garavinah (Teagan Robertson). Over the course of the evening, secrets are revealed, love is declared and murder is committed, and this all before the main course is even served!

All the actors remained committed to their characters, improvising both with the guests and as the story progressed. Sure the story has a few holes and not everything runs smoothly but that’s also its charm. It’s over the top, high-camp fun and filled with lots of sexual innuendo and puns – it’s no accident that one of the characters is called Fanny.

The beauty of such an event is that you are free to engage in as much of the events as you like. If like me, you are a bit performance-inclined you can mingle with the actors and others guests as much as you like, but if you would prefer to sit back and watch the story unfold, you can. The only problem is, with only five actors and roughly twenty guests, there is only so much time you can engage with the characters and to give them a quick interrogation, but that’s probably me wanting more than my 15 minutes of fame.

An evening of séances, severed limbs and darkly held secrets are all part of the festivities at A Dinner to Die For. Personally speaking, the more you choose to involve yourself in the antics the more fun you are likely to have. There are only three shows left for its comedy festival run so book now. After all, your next meal could be your last.

Venue: The Retreat Hotel, 226 Nicholson St, Abbotsford

Season: Until 18 April | Sat 7.15pm

Tickets: $75 Full |

Bookings: Bare Elements Productions


Laid-back Aussie comedic charm

By Myron My

In Binge Thinking, Xavier Toby wants us to be able to laugh at the silly and stupid things in life as well as being able to discuss the bigger issues of modern time.

He attempts to do this by looking at the three things that one is not meant to talk about at dinner parties; politics, religion and money but interspersing it with random facts about dolphins, Delta Goodrem and Deal or No Deal.

The audience is invited to listen to Toby recount a dinner party experience he had with six friends and the issues that arose from that. Toby uses various types of alcohol to represent his six “friends”.  These include the “frangelico” lawyer, the “red and white wine” husband and wife and my personal favourite Sasha the “goon bag” bogan.

The results are quite effective and entertaining and neatly prevent what could have been very confusing for the audience in having to differentiate between seven characters.

For the most part Toby shares his story well, but there were a few moments of awkwardness or clumsy delivery of dialogue. This did however add to Toby’s appeal in being a typical, laid-back Aussie bloke though: someone we can all relate too.

Considering how small the stage is, it’s a shame that half of it was blocked off by an unused piano, thus preventing Toby from being even more animated and to give him some more room for his stage presence.

Toby seems genuinely most relaxed when conversing with his audience whilst drinking his bottle of Mountain Goat. However, if I had to use Tony’s game and compare him to an alcoholic beverage, I would choose a nice bottle of gin or perhaps a Bombay Sapphire. Cheers!

Date: June 21, 22, 23  7pm/24th  6pm

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne

Tickets: $23 / $18

Bookings: thebutterflyclub.com