Dinner With Friends
19 November 2022
Golden Goose Theatre
3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Now, I am not usually a fan of relationship dramas, so keep that in mind when considering my review.
Dinner With Friends is a comedy-drama revolving around two couples, close friends for over a decade, who must find their way through the dissolution of one of their relationships.
Karen and Gabe are the power-couple who are envied by everyone, they live the perfect lives with the perfect family. Their close friends Beth and Tom, who they set up twelve years ago on a soft summer night at their vineyard summer home, face a messy divorce when Tom runs away with his new, young girlfriend to start a more dynamic, less family focussed life.
Karen struggles not only with Tom’s infidelity, the dissolution of a couple she considered family, but also with the ease with which Beth finds her way once she accepts that the marriage is over. Gabe doesn’t understand his best friend any more, who turned his back to his wife and children to live an unencumbered life, speaking about their dozen years of family vacations and week night dinners as if they were nothing but boredom and torture.
Plays like this remind me how fragile and often hostile many relationships are portrayed in popular media, how little couples are shown actually working through their differences. I am not a fan.
The story is also, of course, extremely heteronormative, with very stereotyped “men who can’t talk about their feelings because they aren’t aware of them until a woman steps in and makes them aware” storylines that I am deeply tired of.
But of course, this isn’t a new play, with the script being almost a quarter of a century old at this point. I’m personally not a fan of the story, setup, and the way people treat each other in this play at all. However, the small production did its best with the material.
While the theatre wasn’t exactly bursting with patrons, the actors still threw their all into it, fully embodying their roles. With raw emotions, intensity and passion, this small company definitely made the best of the story they could. I just wish they’d chosen a more modern text to fully showcase their talents.