Reviewer: Amy Taylor
There has been a long tradition of dinner theatre around the world, where audience members have flocked to restaurants and hotels to watch classic and contemporary theatre pieces while dining on good food. However, Ted &Co The Dinner Show is not one of these productions, and where so many other dinner shows entertain the audience, this production manages to confuse, alienate and ultimately disappoint.
Beginning at Father Jack’s supposed funeral, Father Ted, Father Dougal and Mrs Doyle attempt to entertain their guests with their trademark catchphrases and some ill-fated attempts at audience participation. But while the characters may act, sound and look a little like the inhabitants of Craggy Island that we’ve come to know and love so well, they are nothing like them in terms of quality. An unauthorised ‘tribute’ to Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews’ comedy, Ted &Co doesn’t have permission to re-enact any of the TV show’s sketches or scenes, and so the performers have to use new material. This material, however, bears no connection to the trademark surreal humour and odd situations that the real Father Ted and his associates often found themselves in. If you’re looking for the ‘Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse’ sketch, or any allusions to a group of priests getting lost in the ‘largest lingerie department in Ireland’, then this isn’t the show for you.
In fact, without the trademark humour, Ted &Co loses the innocence and the intelligence of Linehan and Mathews’ Father Ted, and descends into immaturity, with sexual innuendo, religious jokes, repetitive use of catchphrases and dull sketches being at best, boring, and at worst, offensive. A farce from beginning to end, and with tickets for dinner costing up to £46, this is a Fringe ‘comedy’ to avoid at all costs.