Menier Chocolate Factory
The Menier Chocolate Factory is a theatre, housed in the top of a former chocolate factory. The space gives directors the freedom to create a different experience which audiences seem to love.
The musical we saw ‘Road Show’ by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman was performed in an unusual format, using the whole length of the room, with the audience on either side. The actors and stage were like the filling in the sandwich, with the audience the bread.
The play was fast paced, vibrant, funny and very well acted. A true team performance with hardly a break to draw breath. I felt the audience kept wanting to clap but were carried along at the speed of the story. A simple setting with creative use of props and furniture helped tell the story with flair.
The evening was very hot so we were delighted to find the theatre was air conditioned; I sure it was a relief to the actors!
The restaurant deserves a special mention with an excellent a la carte menu as well as the set three course menu, which is themed to the play being performed that day. You can purchase a meal deal ticket for a show and two course supper, if you get in quick, as these are very popular. As the play we were watching was set in the US in the early part of the 20th century, we chose corn chowder and chicken and biscuits! Delicious and very filling, I was sad to have to turn down Baked Alaska for pudding. The jug of iced water was particularly welcome. The service was excellent and any problems quickly dealt with.
As I was early, I took the opportunity of visiting the gallery adjacent to the theatre, the Menier Gallery. It is owned by the charity ‘Paintings in Hospitals‘ and their annual exhibition is on until 12th August 2011. I had not met this charity before and was very interested to see their work.
Road Show is on until 17th September and we have already booked for the next play ‘Terrible Advice’.