This was actually the second in the series of “80’s wedding cook-alongs” from Northern Ireland’s Big Telly theatre company. It aimed to create a fun alternative for those stuck at home on a Saturday night during the lockdown. It took the form of a zoom call, with the audience members muted and the cast members allowed to talk.
When you booked for the show, you received a list of ingredients for the cookery section. As you would expect, Baked Alaska featured as the highlight of the menu but there was also another 80s menu classic in Fondu (with flatbread) and a cocktail of Passionfruit Daiquiri. You were asked to have the items weighed out and ready to go before the production started, so some prep work was required for those partaking in the cookery section.
After a short introduction by one of the grooms, the play opened in earnest with Paula McIntyre MBE carrying out the cookery section of the show. Paula was a former contestant on “Ready, Steady, Cook” and is used to preparing food at breakneck speed. Sadly, this reviewer is not! There was little allowance made for those less adept in the culinary arts as she moved through the short menu at breakneck speed! While she was making the Fondu I was busy waiting for my hob to heat up. By the time she had the Baked Alaska in the oven, I had long since given up trying to keep pace with her. It may have been a better idea to intersperse the cookery segments throughout the show to allow the slow learners a chance to keep up but let’s just say my end product looked nothing like hers!
After the cookery segment of the production, there were some short scripted segments with the cast, such as the two grooms preparing for their big day and a video link with two other cast members, who were married in the previous production and were now on their honeymoon! These segments were good-natured and quite funny, but relatively short. The rest of the production was an 80s disco, with some pre-recorded dance segments and also a live feed of the cast members dancing in their bedrooms/ kitchens. While the complexities of making a new production during the lockdown were evident, this production definitely had its heart in the right place.