Il Ristorante, Immortale

Review in Issue 13-4 | Winter 2001

Il Ristorante are a company based in North Germany, four of whom have trained and worked together over a number of years. Both the show itself and the mask work are very reminiscent of early Trestle with a gentle, simple narrative tale, easily followed, and no words. All the action takes place in the dining area of a restaurant and the five performers play the various employees. What is great is that, within this single unity of space, the show encompasses a range of emotions and conflicts in a way that is comic and also poignant.

The restaurant is a sort of purgatory, where the staff continually hope for a customer, but are always disappointed. Thus they are left to act out their roles and stories to each other. The hierarchical status of the group is well defined and the shifting allegiances and petty jealousies nicely observed. The boss particularly evokes sympathy, when he finally breaks down, despite the best efforts of the staff to impersonate a series of diners.

The slapstick timing and musical effects were spot on, but there was a little too much repetition early on and a couple of set scenes were signalled too clumsily. The masks were very effective, though I was distracted where the edges came into contact with flesh. But this was a joyful show, with moments of beauty and pathos. It is good to see a company really explore all the ramifications of one idea – here waiters waiting.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-4
p. 29