Review: Dinner is Coming
An immersive dining experience based on Game of Thrones
You can’t move for Game of Thrones mania at the moment as the eighth and final series hits our screens, and if you’ve been glued to the epic fantasy for the past eight years, there are all manner of weird and wonderful ways to commiserate its end and celebrate its phenomenal success.
Like Marmite, Game of Thrones divides opinion – you either love its ludicrous guts and gore, rampant sex scenes, political conniving and dragons – or you don’t. But most people have an opinion on it either way.
For me, it was more like olives – detested at first but it became an acquired taste. And while I’ll hardly be gutted when it ends, I will miss the witticisms of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), the blustering Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the ludicrous guts and gore, rampant sex scenes, political conniving and dragons… okay, I admit – I did become a fan.
So, to mark its imminent departure, I headed on over to Dinner Is Coming, an immersive dining experience set in the underbelly around Waterloo station, which is part homage, part spoof, part murder mystery, with a cast of characters from the show, albeit with a twist.
On arrival, guests mill around the bar area and chat with (or get insulted by) some of the characters, including ‘Margarine Trywell’, ‘Kirsty Bannister’, and ‘King Jaffery’ (in the series King Joffrey Baratheon is possibly one of the most most evil characters ever written). Here he is played rather camp and childlike to great effect – and I was gutted when he met an early demise (yes, I know murder is the name of the game but he was just too entertaining to lose so early on – although the same actor again steals the show later as a brilliant ‘Johns Know’)
The audience is then divided into houses, according to their wrist bands, and can either stick or twist allegiance throughout the evening. Following the head of our allocated house – Carly Easy, the Mother of Dragons, we found ourselves in her tent to find out more about our mission.
Then more walking of the darkened corridors (with scant effort to keep the atmosphere going with badly draped curtains barely concealing the workings of the kitchen) brought us to the dining room decorated for the wedding of King Jaffery and Margarine. Much like a wedding, you are allocated a table where you mingle with other guests. Finding ourselves with fellow northerners, we joined in the cries of King of the North every five seconds, and when said ‘King o’ tut North’ ‘Johns Know’ swaggered into the proceedings, we were quick to switch allegiance.
Dinner arrived and it was much more impressive than you might expect for such a soirée. A bright green soup was delicately flavoured, among the piles of chicken wings there was a juicy shoulder of lamb, and there was a good selection of sides and veggie dishes. Dessert was a poached pear, but as Johns Know rightly bellowed: “Pear’s not puddin’, puddin’s puddin’.”
We were then led back to the bar for the big reveal and the winning house declared. It was an entertaining evening – we hoped for something rowdier and while we did dress up, only a handful of the audience did. Had more entered into the spirit, it would have made for a livelier atmosphere.
And when you have experienced the high production values of the likes of Punchdrunk’s immersive theatre, it also feels rather flimsy. Still, while it is unlikely to transport you to the Seven Kingdoms, for £35 to £55 for dinner and some giggles, it is a decent night out.
Dinner is Coming Until 14 July, The Vaults, Waterloo