It’s not often that a play makes you feel as though you’re one of the actors on stage while giving you just the right amount of time in-between acts to dine, drink, discuss and enjoy the general atmosphere.
I recently attended a dinner theatre at the Vineyard Hotel’s Splash Café with no expectation other than that I would be watching a play called In The Bar Of A Tokyo Hotel written by Tennessee Williams.
I would suggest going a little early if you’re planning on attending as the Vineyard Hotel is a beautiful location and has a lot to take in and do, whether it’s walking in the lush garden or enjoying a coffee in one of the many cosy spots you’ll stumble upon during your visit.
Once you’ve had your fill of coffee and luxurious surroundings, a path to the left of the grand fountain on the lawn will lead you to a small gate right outside Splash Café where dining and drama awaits you.
If you’re still a little early, the patio by the pool and the lovely garden, warm thanks to a gas heater, is the perfect spot to relax while your table is being prepared.
As the night set in and the café lights lit up the bar and dining area, adorned with Japan-inspired decorations, excitement began brewing and guests were led to their tables.
Once seated, guests are served a welcome cocktail, and one of the most interesting drinks I have had the pleasure of enjoying: a Gin Fizz, which was also the playwright’s favourite cocktail. It is a unique mixture of rose water, egg alternative powder, gin, and soda water, and is a truly a refreshing cocktail.
From here, the starter is served and before you know it the first cast member takes the stage and you along with them on a journey to Tokyo.
The play that unfolded before my eyes was one of passion, sadness, creative struggle, lust, and deceit.
It left every table in the house shocked and everyone in the audience ready to discuss each act, of which there are three.
The performance is very intimate and the cast members pass right by the table while saying their lines, I’ve never felt more involved in a play in my life.
The story of In The Bar Of A Tokyo Hotel focuses on the wife of an artist named Mark, a displaced Western painter who represents all creatives who struggle for their art.
As the plot unfolds you learn more about both Mark’s and his wife Miriam’s struggles as they near what seems to be the end of their long marriage while on a trip to Tokyo.
Four cast members grace the stage throughout the play and although they are few they are the perfect number of such an intimate setting. The play was truly enjoyable and unique, realistically portraying the hardships of both artists and, at times, those who love them.
We can’t forget the food and the delightful wines that were served to pair with each plate.
A three-course meal is served by Myoga Restaurant staring with pan-roasted, sustainably-sourced fish with fish dumplings, Asian greens, lemongrass and ginger broth served with Chenin blanc, then blackened miso chicken, steamed rice, shredded vegetables, edamame and blood orange teriyaki served with Shiraz. Lastly, for dessert is an indulgent forest berry black tea panacotta with black sesame frozen yoghurt, yuzu compressed winter melon and sour meringue was served with a delightful light Guava Sake with yuzu sours.
The menu perfectly suited the occasion with its asian fusion theme, but if you have dietary requirements the organisers are happy to arrange a special menu for vegetarians and vegans.
It was a truly memorable evening filled with unique touches and unusual delights so if you haven’t yet I’d highly recommend watching In The Bar Of A Tokyo Hotel showing on July 19, 20, 26 and 27 as well as on August 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17.
Bookings can be made at [email protected] or via 021 657 4500
Alternatively you can grab your tickets for R650 per person here.
Pictures: Aimee Pace