One hour. Actually, 50 minutes. 50 minutes is all you need for the rollercoaster, high intensity, million emotion-packed, fizzing-with-energy play that is ‘Chef‘, written by Sabrina Mahfouz and performed by Jade Anouka. And only Jade Anouka.
And she gives it Everything. She’s. Got.
Winner of an Edinburgh Fringe First 2014 and The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence, it’s no wonder that Chef is now enjoying a stint in London at Soho Theatre.
The play tells the story of how one woman went from being a haute-cuisine head-chef to a convicted inmate running a prison kitchen. So not an easy subject matter, but one which is grabbed by both hands and explored in front of your very eyes.
The script is lyrical and Anouka is like a pocket rocket going off on stage.
“Anouka gives a mesmerising performance as Chef, rolling with the rich rhythmns of the language, unleashing emotion, delineating each character with a nod of the head or a slight adjustment of the body” (The Independent).
Inspired by an interview Mahfouz conducted with Ollie Dabbous, Chef studies food as the ultimate art form taking stimulus from Dabbous’ obsession with simplicity and making something the best it can be. As the Michelin-star chef of the moment says, “language is a bit like a dish, you break it down into little parts and it suddenly becomes easier.”
Leading us through her world of mouth-watering dishes and heart-breaking memories, Chef questions our attitudes to food, prisoners, violence, love and hope.
We, along with the rest of the audience poured out onto Dean Street after the show and all you could hear were chatterings and excited murmurs about what we’d just seen…
And I immediately googled what kind of cake I could make with simple, fresh, perfect peaches.
Tickets are available from www.sohotheatre.com or 020 7478 0100 from £10
LM & I were guests of Soho Theatre