How does an evening combining a 6-course meat dinner and a dance performance that takes place on and around the table you are eating from, sound to you? An evening of meat is now in London at The Vaults until the end of April.
An Evening of Meat bills itself as ‘ inspiring creative liberation through nonpareil performance, clandestine encounters, and cosmopolitan cuisine’ and after experiencing it, I very much agree with this statement.
It was created by American director Kate March and has been touring around the world before coming back to London.Kate March is the founder I AM, an all-female creative directive who are global pioneers for immersive dining and interactive experiences.
The Vaults is an underground arts venue, down a graffiti-covered underpass in Waterloo.
When you arrive at The Vaults you are led to a cool lounge bar full of wire art by Rachel Ducker, where you can relax until being called into dinner. The bar is open an hour before your booking, at 6.30pm, so you can take your time and relax into your evening.
You are called into dinner in groups to stagger the seating, as it’s on communal tables, past plastic sheeting around the kitchens through what looks like a butchers room.
The restaurant is set in an arch with communal tables and ladies on all fours, in the middle of them.
I’m not someone who likes to have pre-conceptions so I didn’t do much research on An Evening of Meat and wanted to see what I thought it represented. To be honest, even after seeing it, I had no idea what the performance meant but I was impressed the women’s performances were feminine, strong and never sexual, even though they were dressed in bra tops. They dance for 2 hours non-stop and are fully committed to their characters and you can see they are feeling the emotions throughout their whole bodies. I was so impressed as there is nowhere to hide, they are fully exposed at all times. Some of the poses they hold as well did get applause, their strength is astounding.
It is your responsibility to move your drinks and watch your food, they are not looking where they are going but caught up in the dance. This adds to the fun and keeps you engaged.
There seems to be one lady in charge who is the main puppeteer and plays the host to this strange soiree. She interacts with the other dancers and they seem to obey her commands. The dancers interact with diners and invite you in to touch hands or may even use you to stand up. You feel connected to the performers and somewhat a part of their performance. This character is more playful and interacts more and got the crowd whipped into a frenzy at the end of the piece.
After looking at the website I now know the piece represents the fact that nobody should be treated like a piece of meat. The dancer’s journey starts on all fours to represent vulnerability. By the end of the night, she is standing as she rises likes a phoenix, empowered.
There are set moments of choreography and the lights are dimmed to get your attention and the energy is ramped up.
The D.J plays a fantastic soundtrack throughout the evening, including some classic Massive Attack and other nostalgic dance tunes.
The event is super well organised with any dietary requirements already catered for in advance. Although it is a night of meat, vegetarians and vegans are also catered for. The communal tables and the nature of the evening mean you will have chats with random strangers.
The food by POPco is delicious, and the 6 courses prove very filling, with a generous dessert at the end. The staff are amazing and the food is beautifully presented.
You need to buy drinks separately but they are well priced at £20 for a botlle of house wine.
An Evening of Meat was quite an unusual experience and a brilliantly entertaining evening. Watching people dressed in suits casually eating their dinner whilst trying not to make eye contact with a lady doing a handstand right in front of them was quite a sight to behold.
The beauty of the evening is it is so unique, and you won’t experience anything quite like it. You will talk to strangers and engage in conversations about the dancers on the table in front of you. It feels intimate and special due to the location and something you will be talking to your friends about. The food was delicious and the courses interesting, especially the chocolate dessert with bacon bits! It’s a great night out for a date or a group of friends.
An Evening of Meat is open until 22nd April Tuesday-Sundays and doors open at 6.30pm for a 7.30pm dinner. Tickets cost £35 and include a 6-course meal, dance performance and after dinner dancing until midnight.