Theatre has evolved in this country, perhaps more interestingly, if that's a word, than any other genre. Travelling players such as the Jolly Boys who come to Durham Castle and perform outdoor Shakespeare in the summer and Heartbreak productions - I saw them at Dunham Massey a couple of years ago performing An Ideal Husband. These things are picnics with plays.
However, here in Durham we have gone a step further than that and a very clever and wonderful step it is. We have a catering company who have their premises at The Kitchen on Alnwick Road and last night I went with my friends Joan and Malcolm to a murder mystery night, complete with three courses and coffee for twenty pounds. What a bargain. There are only half a dozen tables and I don't suppose that anybody is making a fortune but what lovely people. The actors, the staff and the meal were all great, brie parcels, steak pie and some wonderful dessert concoction which I do not know the name of.
They supplied us ( mostly me, to be fair) with lots of red wine and in between courses we were set to solve the murder that they acted out for us. Inbetween courses also they came and talked to us in character and I was able to harangue the nasty man in the play for being mean to his wife. He denied it all.
Malcolm and Joan went to see Brief Encounter last month and said it was superb.
To put on a play in a small cafe such as that is like pavement art, so close and so good.
I do love the way things move forward in such a positive way. Everybody was there because they wanted to be and the intimacy made the whole thing so immediate.
They do other things as well, they have bistro nights, special occasions for children and a gorgeous Christmas menu. They also have paintings for sale on the walls so I think I might walk up there this morning and take another look at the one of Staithes which I liked so much last night when I was full of food and wine.