Fringe Festival 2011: ‘Tactile Dinner Car’
By Fiona Zublin
Friday, July 8, 2011
The problem with reviewing a performance art piece like the Tactile Dinner Car, which depends on constant surprise, is that one cannot actually reveal anything about the play. We can tell you it is Futurist , that it is held in the middle of the Fringe’s crowded beer garden, and that when you check in you will receive a menu of dishes (each a performance art piece) with names like “Devil in Black Key” and descriptions like “contrasting free-form arabesques of cream and ash.” You will not be able to try them all — each participant receives 10 tickets, and each dish requires that you surrender between one, two or three of them. You could, if you co-ordinate with your dining companions, at least witness all of them, but be warned: once you know the secret of a dish, a lot of the magic goes out of it.
Your big question: is there actual food? Yes, most of the dishes involve some sort of food, though rarely more than a bite — and if you have an aversion to Jell-o, beware. The show is occasionally in the cuisine, as in the fiery yet ultimately upsetting show behind the “Dupelication,” but it’s more often about engaging the audience with absurdity and in spurring people to discover the secret behind each dish. You set your own running time with this one, but after 30-40 minutes you’ll probably have seen someone order almost everything available, and then it’ll be time to go seek out a more balanced dinner. “Tactile Dinner Car” is diverting and well thought out, but best enjoyed with an adventurous palate and a thorough appreciation for the ridiculous.