Review: Dine Her (Realspace Theatre)

Realspace Theatre’s Dine Her takes interactive theatre performed in unconventional Toronto spaces that leaves audiences laughing along and hungry for more

My passion for theatre exists in exploring the off the wall and unexpected. It was this same passion that drew me to Dine Her by Realspace Theatre. This performance is a quirky comedy about love gone awry when a woman realizes her boyfriend has been turned into a zombie. The show also boasts a rather unique location to use as their preferred venue – namely the George Street Diner with all the warm amenities (and limited seating) you would expect from a diner – along with amazing food!

Arriving at the diner, you really get a sense of how cozy the place, and therefore the performance will be. The diner is small, bustling and busy – narrow vertical kitchen and bar space, stools at the counter, booths along the windowed wall. Sit back and enjoy a couple of drinks along with your reasonably priced themed meal.

The performance starts when you notice a woman in red (Erica Wood) speaking rather loudly on her phone, complaining to a friend that her boyfriend is once again late and she’s being stood up. Just after she decides to storm out, a man (Bruce Hunter) frantically staggers in – his suit disheveled, the stack of books he’s carrying frayed, and his pallor an unnerving shade of decomposing gray – demands where his girlfriend has gone.

When the two connect, the inevitable “where were you?” interrogation begins. His excuse – “I’ve been turned into a zombie!” – is met with the expected deadpan stare of the unimpressed at which an argument ensues. Revelations of his and her past are revealed in the face of what could very well be, the dawning of the zombie apocalypse.

The comedy is snarky, quick-witted and sarcastic, riddled with sexual innuendo and pop culture references. It’s definitely adult humor making this show not the best selection for a younger audience. The pacing and delivery of the lines were outstanding considering the unpredictable element of performing in very close proximity to a crowd in a small set.

There are also a number or great additions to the production including the owner of the George Street Diner, Ash Farrelly, who played the caustic waitress and referee between the bickering couple. The use of the radio broadcast – a direct throw to Orson Welle’s War of the Worlds broadcast – featured the voice of on-air personality Ralph Benmergui. The production also features zombified dancers – who, to my slight disappointment, did not break into the Thriller dance – from Danny Davalo’s One Immigrant Productions.

The one small thing that irked me during the performance was the fact that Farrelly was the only one wearing a microphone in a small venue. When the three interact, her voice stands out from being amplified and, for a while in the beginning, I found myself distracted and pulled away by it.

Realspace Theatre is a new company founded in 2010 during the Fringe by Dine Her‘s own zombie in love, Bruce Hunter, whose vision was to create innovative and interactive real time theatre in unconventional spaces. Dine Her is a perfect example of how embracing the unconventional can create an experience truly unique and memorable – the perfect start to Halloween festivities.

Details

  • Dine Her is playing at the George Street Diner (129 George Street).
  • Performances run from September 16 – 23 at 8 pm, guests may arrive early at 7 pm for the themed dinner.
  • Tickets are $39.95 for both dinner and the performance.
  • Tickets can be purchased online at EventBrite or at the venue before the performance between 9 am and 4 pm.
  • For more information please call 647 898 DINE (3463).

Photo of Bruce Hunter and Erica Wood by Carinne Leduc.

4 thoughts on “Review: Dine Her (Realspace Theatre)”

  1. Thanks for the good review. However, as the composer and producer of the final song I would like to point out that choreographing a dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller would have been an entirely unoriginal thing to do. Instead, I was asked to write something original for this unique show. We are currently making a video for this music and hopefully will release it as single. It is odd that you praise the show for its originality but think that using original music was a mistake.

  2. Hi Suga,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    I read the comment about the Thriller dance as kind of tongue-in-cheek rather than as an actual issue with the show or suggestion or anything.

    That said, it’s great to have your perspective on it, and it’s exciting to hear about the video.

    Cheers,
    megan

    ——
    Megan Mooney
    Founding Editor
    Mooney on Theatre

  3. Loved the show. Loved everything about it! I really hope there are more Real space theatres show in the future. It’s such an intimate setting that packs a punch with the performance and really makes great use out of it’s surroundings. Tomorrow is the final show. Please go check it out for yourselves.

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