Tasting Notes ★★★★ Southwark Playhouse | Jul 27 - Aug 27, 2022

Subtle, yet complex and with surprising depth! Wine and people do not always reveal themselves on first acquaintance. Tasting Notes looks at one day in the life of the six individuals who share time and space in LJ's wine bar, but although they appear to know each other and to connect, their experience and perception of that connection is very different. We have the same day told over again from six different perspectives and our attitudes change and grow as we learn more about the different ways the principals experience what is happening. It is an interesting premise, but the trick is to avoid unnecessary repetition, thus losing the audience's interest. All in all, writers, Richard Baker and Charlie Ryall, cleverly manage to avoid that pitfall. They have created an interesting and diverse group of characters from the harried bar owner LJ (Nancy Zamit), to insecure server, Maggie (Charlie Ryall) and through nerdish waiter, Oliver (Niall Ransome) and his super-camp counterpart, George (Sam Kipling). Wendy Morgan is the stolid chef de partie, Eszter, while Stephen Hoo plays the bar's inebriate regular, Joe. All of the cast put in strong performances and create individuals who are credible and multifaceted. While the songs' lyrics were often both touching and humorous, with the exception of "Passing Through," the music was not terribly memorable. The twist at the end of show was arresting but rather jarring, not being the finish we had anticipated for this hitherto light and charming offering. Matters of individual preference aside, Tasting Notes is worth the time investment and has some vintage qualities.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Chris Marchant.

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