Last Supper @ Unitarian Church, Liverpool
Last Supper is a dark satirical cabaret comedy about the end of the world. More of a performance dinner than a piece of theatre, Bearded Child invites you to ‘warm your cockles on the burning embers of your house.’ The tone for the entire evening is hilariously bleak, and at times absurd, with nuclear detonation, consumerism and fracking as topics of conversation.
Sometimes, in theatre, setting is everything, and when site-specific productions are done well, the results are spectacular. Performed in a church, the setting of Last Supper is fundamental in creating the lunacy and chaos of the piece. Stacks of books, topped with Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion no less, greet the audience on the way in, and from here on in, it all feels a bit... mischievous.
A ‘homeless’ man enters and no one knows where to look. He pauses before beckoning the group and within minutes the actors have a self-aware and uneasy audience in the palm of their hands.
Starting off as a promenade piece, the spectators-cum-diners are led through the church towards the banquet hall. Installations occupy corners and line the corridors of the route with creepy waiters leading the way. Nobody knows what is coming next, and everybody files along with giddy apprehension.
A stunning cross-shaped candlelit table awaits, and the audience take their seats. Short pieces of theatre spring to life between courses, performed by two principal actors who take the roles of Adam- and Eve-type figures – only more neurotic.
Hilarious, energetic and outrageous, the sketches are brilliantly performed and thoroughly entertaining. The writing is brave and daring but not superfluous. It taps into our deepest thoughts and our darkest humour: the Cards Against Humanity of theatre.
Bearded Child’s decision to serve a three-course meal deserves praise. Coordinating a full dinner service at the same time as putting on a show is no mean feat and, although the evening did feel a little disjointed at times, combining the elements of food and theatre brings Last Supper to life and creates a unique theatrical experience.