Faye entertained us with a stream of consciousness of stories, observations and memories from her own family, and neat drawing with a salt cellar. She allocated some of us characters and described what was happening to us, although we didn’t have to contribute, apart from chuckling: Andy, who has aggression issues, was leaning over to squeeze the life out of his companion’s burger; Mark was waiting patiently at his table as the time ticked on, and Jo had left something important at the restaurant.
We felt like guests ear-wigging as the night wore on, when we learned about Faye’s family meal times, different sorts of gravy and how to make a decent cup of tea. We each had a turn with the salt and drew our place settings (in more ways than one).
Faye gave us an intimate and fun theatrical experience; indeed we couldn’t have been nearer the action or more involved. Tea is an Evening Meal is an interesting idea which, like Oliver, would benefit from some more. It seemed to be over too quickly, and I wanted it to go on longer because I was enjoying the experience. I wanted to know more about the individuals we had been introduced to and to find out what happened next to many of them. Just why was the man sitting next to me all by himself?
This is a show in the excellent Oxford Playhouse Plays Out series and is ideally suited to the relaxed Jam factory setting. It’s the sort of work that would also do well at the Edinburgh Fringe.