‘Food makes up 100% of the human diet, sometimes even more. It’s really hard to find food in nature, apart from fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, potatoes and salads, and so all the food we eat is made by loving human hands.’
Edibles, which runs this week from Monday to Wednesday in the normal Corpus late slot, feels delightfully indulgent. An exploration of the weird and wonderful imagined characters of the British food industry, from the ice cream machine bouncer to the alcoholic Saturday Kitchen sommelier, it blows its characters delightfully out of proportion in order to pull us in.
Collaboratively written and performed by the cast of Comrie Saville-Ferguson, Emma Plowright, Emmeline Downie, Eve Delaney, James Coward, Laura Cameron, Leo Reich, Will Bicknell-Found, Noah Geelan, Ashleigh Weir and the directorial team of Ania Magliano-Wright and John Tothill, the play consists of a series of monologues. Falling somewhere between a play and a sketch show, character as well as food is really at the heart of this play.
There were a few particular standout characters – my theatregoing companion in particular almost fell out of her seat during the brilliant monologue by Noah Geelan, detailing his struggles with his secret reptilian identity whilst working in an almost empty tea factory as a taster. I also particularly enjoyed Ashleigh Weir’s lustful ode to Nigella Lawson, as well as the perennially side-splitting Emma Plowright’s turn as an overly aggressive guardian of an ice cream machine, and Laura Cameron and James Coward as the aforementioned sommeliers (‘This wine tastes a bit like cigarette ash, and I would know from all the ash I ate at the weekend. It’s like eating a working men’s club’).
Overall, the show was extremely well written, and the script felt fairly unified, despite the large number of contributors to it. While sometimes I felt that the monologues might have felt more unified if there was a little more of a common theme between them beyond just food, I really enjoyed the transitions between scenes and other nods (and, sometimes, returns) to earlier story lines. These were reminiscent in their choice of music and style of voiceover to the kind of food programme we put on when we’ve got nothing else to watch- a kind of cultural grazing, which this show so wonderfully and hilariously explores.
‘Edibles’ is a treat for the senses, and should definitely not be missed by those looking to add a little levity to lunchtime. Or, indeed, their cheesy chips on the way home.
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