By Georgia Mason-Cox
A satirical show combining comedy, camp and cooking, Miriam and the Monkfish promises to be a sizzling night out.
Following sell-out seasons at the 2006 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the 2007 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Sophie Kelly’s incisive take on our cultural obsession with food returns to Sydney for a short season at The Old Fitzroy Theatre in Wolloomooloo.
Co-written with Tessa King, Miriam and the Monkfish was devised when Kelly was given the opportunity to create a solo work for a Melbourne festival showcasing the original work of emerging talent.
We started with a virtually blank canvas and only one image in mind: a woman gorges herself on food until she is left broken and exposed, shuddering on the floor.
Meet Miriam. Her husband Greg is on the verge of bankruptcy and she must cook for some of his potential clients in a last-ditch effort to save his business.
The trouble is, Miriam has never had to cook -” the -˜help’ has always been around to do things like that.
Desperate to keep up appearances, Miriam attempts to reproduce the creations of various celebrity chefs with catastrophic results.
Has combining cooking and live theatre been an invitation to disaster?
Things go wrong all the time, admitted Kelly, the co-writer and star of the show.
Part of the joy of the show is because of the unpredictable nature of the food, things are improvised each show. It’s constantly evolving and changing but that’s what keeps it alive.
Our glorification of food and chefs seemed to reach fever pitch a couple of years ago.
Will kitchen-phobes soon be granted a reprieve from the ubiquitous presence of a spatula-wielding Jamie or Nigella? Kelly thinks not.
I don’t see the cult of the celebrity chef ending any time soon… we will always turn to celebrity chefs to help us fantasise about the way our lives could and should be.
She believes food has always been a status symbol in various cultures but lately in the Western world it has become a commodity on our shopping list of aspirations.
info: Miriam and the Monkfish plays the Old Fitzroy Theatre, 129 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo. Tickets: oldfitzroy.com.au