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Classic Claustrophobia at Bernadette’s – review

By colsim 25 November 2005 0

Popped up to Bernadette’s in Ainslie last night for a spot of dinner theatre with the 3 hand play Classic Claustrophobia.

(Not sure why I used that term, it seems to come up fairly regularly on the Simpsons and always seems kind of amusing – and in truth, there was both theatre and dinner so maybe it’s not so bad)

Anyways, the deal is that you get a set menu and the show for $33. The food was the usual top-notch vego fair that Bernadette’s does so well – starting out with a platter of nibbles – dips, bread, olives, mushrooms, spinach leaves, bean sprouts and so on and then moving on to a couple of different offerings in the pizza dept – the mexicana type one and the one with pumpkins and caramelised onions.

Once dinner is finished up (and I should mention that the place was packed, so it takes a little while but with good company and a drink or two the time flies by) it’s on with the show.

Classic Claustrophobia makes intelligent use of the limited space on offer by setting the action in a lift, stuck between floors in an office building. It’s written by first time writer Jenny Rixon, who along with Tania Bunk and Kerrie Roberts put on a warm and enthusiastic performance as three women with little to do but wait, chat and unearth the odd skeleton in the closet.

The themes covered are fairly classic and often seemed to hit the right chord with the (largely female) audience. It was certainly very much a woman’s thing but the vast majority of the humour worked for me as well (as a guy). (I kind of feel like I’m overemphasising this element a bit much – trust me that there was a lot of other stuff going on as well and some nice comedy business throughout)

The story moves along nicely, possibly just hurried a little early on in setting up the essential conflict of the thing before it finds its natural rhythm. (I’m making a big effort here not to do the spoilers thing so excuse the scant detail on what actually happens but I think it’s usually best to go into things not knowing too much).

It only occasionally dips into stereotypes (though is it just me or do almost all stories involving people stuck in a lift (or anywhere really) have a pregnant woman in them) to take a interesting and definitely amusing look at the lives and loves of women with a thing or two in common. (And as I say, as a guy I think some things may have slipped through to the keeper – there were certainly more than a few bursts of laughter from the women in the room that I think I missed)

Well worth checking out for a good night out – Rozzi, the new owner of Bernadette’s has a bit of a grand plan for the restaurant (while holding fast to all the things that have made this place the local institution that it is) and putting in some theatre certainly seems to have paid off.

There are still a few shows left – a matinee (with afternoon tea) on Sunday the 27th and a dinner and show on the 30th and the 1st. Contact the restaurant on 6248 5018 for tix.

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