Dinner by Moira Buffini

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“It’s a deliciously disastrous feast of wicked black satirical comedy” … In his final role as a director, Jim Matsinos and a talented local cast present “Dinner” at Players Theatre this month. It’s not to be missed production, showcasing the dinner party from hell!

What’s the plot/storyline of Dinner?

Paige Janssen is hosting a dinner party. Her husband, Lars has just published a new pop-philosophy book, Beyond Belief, and it’s a hit. Paige is a socialite extraordinaire with a nasty streak that runs very, very deep. Tonight, she is reluctantly celebrating her husband’s best-selling book. 

The usual suspects have been invited for dinner – an artist, a scientist and a sexpot newsreader. A carefully curated guest list is assembled at Paige’s opulent greenhouse room. As the entrées quiver on their plates, a stranger knocks on the door. The arrival of Mike, marooned in the foggy lane after crashing his van, provides an unexpected addition to the evening’s entertainment. A silent waiter, sourced from an obscure website, completes the picture.

So, let the dinner from hell begin. The menu: Aperitif, Primordial Soup, Apocalypse of Lobster, Frozen Waste, coffee or herbal tea is served. 

As Paige leads her guests through an unusual array of dishes, the conversation gets personal and the revelations are startling. The night will not end well.

Moira Buffini’s Dinner is a devilishly black satire on upper middle-class assumptions. The knives are out, but nothing is sharper than the insults.

Why was Dinner chosen to perform locally?

Players Theatre has some very talented performers, but not too many drama productions are offered; hence, these performers with their acting bent have little chance to strut their skills on stage. The number of musicals offered by the company far outstrips drama productions. 

The cast consists of Vickii Byram, Lance Thompson, Cameron Marshall, Gina Mansfield, Amanda Gordon, Tristram de Jong, and Paul Holcroft.

This production certainly ticks all the boxes of offering its patrons a chance to see these talented performers, as well as a great night of entertainment.

What are the dates of the production?

1st – 17th March, Friday and Saturday 8pm; Sunday 2pm.

We are aligning this production with Drury Lane … So, Dinner at Drury Lane then Dinner at Players Theatre, Friday and Saturday only.

What have you most enjoyed about directing this Dinner?

Directing and working with people who take their stage craft seriously and having an enthusiastic backstage and construction crew. I supply the team with plenty of cake, buns and good brewed coffee. But as the saying goes, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”- I expect just that little more! 

Also, I have enjoyed having the opportunity to add to the artistic genre of Port Macquarie and having the full artistic licence of designing the stage set.

Why would you encourage readers to come and see the show?

For a great night out watching live performers present a very quirky play. It’s a no holds barred production. 

I have teamed up with Drury Lane Eatery to entice people to grab some friends and make it a night out – Dinner at Drury Lane followed by Dinner at the Players Theatre – the complete package, Friday and Saturday nights only. Interested people will need to make their own dinner reservations at Drury Lane, but if they tell the staff they are attending the production of Dinner at the Players Theatre, the restaurant will open at 5:45 and everyone will be served by 7:30pm. This leaves half an hour to get to the theatre. 

Also, the 8th March is International Women’s Day, and this production showcases three very strong women’s characters. It would be great if we can have the “House Full” sign out on this evening.

You’ve been involved with Players Theatre since 1974, but you’re hanging up your director’s hat after this show. What led to this decision?

I have been involved with The Port Macquarie Players for 45 years. But times have changed, and it’s time for me to make way for others to come through. Perhaps my discipline in presentation varies, perhaps a carryover from my days as teacher. 

However, I have been fortunate to work and perform with the Players enthusiastically over many years and also with other companies and groups, not only in Port Macquarie, but throughout the state. Musical productions, dramas, choirs and recitals have given me a broad exposure to the entertainment world. They are very time consuming, and now it is time for me to just enjoy other people in their presentations of the performing arts.

What’s next for you?

Some overseas travel to places that I have not encountered, perhaps a little more drawing and painting, the numerous stock pile of jobs around the house, time with the grandchildren and perhaps the odd bit of singing here and there. And definitely a stricter keep-fit regime!

Thanks Jim. 

Interview: Jo Robinson.

THE PLUG

Get tickets for Dinner at www.playerstheatre.org.au 
Or purchase through the Glasshouse 6581 8888 or via the Box Office one hour prior to the show.

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