Serving up Cabaret for Dinner
Providing the sizzle, the stories, and the song. Michelle Pearson hosts one heck of a dinner party.
Presented by Interactive Theatre International, with ticket sales proceeds going to Little Lives Australia, in support of children with medical needs, Michelle Pearson brought her three-course dinner with a different show Comfort Food Cabaret to diners with the promise of soulful singing and delicious food, for an unforgettable dining experience.
In Brisbane for the first time ever, for a special one-night event, Michelle serenaded the audience through the dinner, accompanied admirably by keyboardist Aaron Nash and bassist Michael Ciaramella.
The meal was not only paired with Michelle Pearson’s wonderful dulcet tones, but all of the dishes are also introduced by Michelle herself preparing a sample version of the dish, complete with recipe instructions and commentary, and anecdotes that relate to each dish. One of which made the thought of ever having another apricot chicken for dinner, distinctly unlikely.
The dishes served were simple, flavourful and utter comfort food heaven, and the stories and songs that accompanied them were touching and often very funny and included some of the songs having their lyrics changed to tie in with the story. One such stand-out was Michelle’s lamenting the untimely closing of a McDonalds with “It’s too late to order fries” replacing the chorus hook of Timbaland’s Apologize.
There were some slight oddities to the night however, with dessert being accompanied by a heartfelt, but deeply emotional story about Michelle’s father, and dedicated song. Which was uneasily juxtaposed against the humour of the preceding anecdotes and parody songs.
The other was the positioning within Jo-Jo’s Restaurant and Bar, in a cavernous warehouse in the rear. Luckily the size of the space didn’t negatively impact the musical aspects of the show.
But, with just four closely grouped tables and three people performing such an intimate show, the space was ill-suited, though Michelle and the rest of the hosts made it work as well as it needed to for the performance to be extremely enjoyable.
Of things that were extremely enjoyable, the food topped that list with aplomb, perfectly balanced and with such personal connection to Michelle’s life, it was impossible not to enjoy each dish and savour the emotional attachments of the stories that they were inspired by or directly came from.
Comfort Food Cabaret is a wonderful experience, and Michelle’s singing and cooking were perfect for a chilly evening and encompassed what is so soothing about comfort food.
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