BWW Review: INTIMATE DINNER at Capital Fringe
There's a moment in Intimate Dinner, written and performed by Lauren French, that made me laugh harder than anything in the Capital Fringe Festival so far, and it's a quiet gesture - she just swings a towel onto her shoulder. It's not a punchline - it's just a small character moment - but it registers as deeply human. French is a remarkably talented actress, so in tune with her physicality and voice that every one of her 20 characters feels instantly real. Intimate Dinner is exactly what the title says - it's a short evening where we watch a tortured waitress dealing with truly insane personalities. There are patrons, co-workers and celebrity chefs, and French brings so much to each of them. Not every joke lands, and I think it works best when we're just watching behavior rather than punchlines.
Director Prentiss Standridge has made two decisions that hinder a lot of the action - one, the lighting is so low you have to frequently squint to tell what's happening, and the other is the choice to have French sit down and stand back up for many character transitions. It makes sense - restaurant patrons sit and wait staff stands - but it doesn't make as clean a transition as one would hope. Still, this show is all French and watching her absorb all these interactions, a flustered outbreak slowly boiling to the surface, is more than reason enough to buy a ticket. At the end we're nearly treated to an explosive destruction of the set, and while it's obviously not practical to break apart the set (and, you know, not safe to throw glass), I'd come watch a version of this show where French goes nuts on the set at the close - because, firstly, it would truly be a sight to see, and secondly and frankly, she deserves it. Intimate Dinner runs for two more performances, and tickets can be bought here.