BROUGHT to the HotHouse stage as a co-production from Force Majeure and Belvoir, Steve Rodgers’ play Food explores the themes of sensuality and food as two sisters bend to the daily routine of cooking at a truck stop cafe out in the sticks.
One of the sisters has recently returned to the cafe after years of cutting loose in the big smoke.
The other sister has chosen to stay on and run the cafe.
Enter Hakan (“son of Handsom”), a personable young Turkish traveller with a distinctive lifestyle and customs and more interested in sexual conquest than in cooking.
The scene is set for verbal jousting and spirited banter as the three characters bounce off each other when not slicing potatoes and beans or kneading dough.
And joy of joys, food and wine is distributed to the audience, who become partners in the unfolding of this bittersweet yet frequently funny theatrical canvas.
Sensuality runs like a river through the script, and indeed the food preparation itself with its loving concentration augments this flavour.
Towards the end, I felt the play’s structure loosened following the departure of Hakan, so that for a while it seemed the story had run out of puff.
However, this was temporary.
Director Kate Champion has secured vibrant playing from her cast.
There are numerous choreographed areas which provide effective contrast to spoken elements, and the setting is at once simple yet elegant: a latticed wall sporting an array of saucepans and frying pans which in turn glow gold and blue in Martin Langhorne’s inspired lighting design.
See the show, it’s a gourmet occasion.
Food is on at Wodonga’s HotHouse Theatre until tomorrow.