Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Toronto Fringe review: Served

By Christopher Douglas
Staged in the upstairs of the Epicure Cafe, Served seats its small audience at tables and sets the action around them.  This piece about the front of house staff at Rocco's Kitchen transcends the usual waiter stories by creating a space that truly doubles as a theatre (thanks to lighting by Cameron Davis) and a dining room.
Two waiters and their manager deal with the day-to-day issues of a restaurant - picky customers (all played by the shape-shifting Glyn Bowerman), food shortages, angry owners and growing tensions - while showing us their aspirations.  Jillian Welsh as Sandra builds a character so sympathetic and realistic that by the end of the show, the audience is ready to stand up and cheer her concert performance.
Generally the story is episodic with time blurring around the edges, however that is also the nature of the industry.  By adding manager Ken (Ron Kelly) to the mix, Served also allows employment security to become an issue for our intrepid waiters.  The script by Graham Isador deftly progresses, including many laughs, though it often leaves En Lai Mah as Dylan without much to play.
Considering the size of the space, the amount of movement and choreography achieved in the production is quite impressive.  For his integration skills and ability to keep an audience in close proximity mentally and physically, compliments to director Tom Arthur Davis.
As the show only seats about twenty, the run of Served is almost entirely sold out.  But with any luck, this universal show will receive a remount or become a regular feature at a restaurant near you
Info and tickets to all Toronto Fringe shows can be found at

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