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Geoff Sobelle’s ‘Food’ at the Edinburgh International Festival

Geoff Sobelle is part hypnotist, part magician, and part clown. The show, and solo performer Sobelle, cycle through many wildly differing states, each one eliciting nervous gasps or giggles. I genuinely had to watch part of the show through the gaps in my fingers because I was so delighted/horrified at the same time. 

There is a large table, set for dinner: wine glasses, plates, napkins, a crisp white tablecloth. He directly addresses the audience from the get go, and one is never quite sure what is a silly bit and what is purposeful disarming and clumsiness. He asks us to close our eyes, imagine our last meal.

Imagine yours, whatever it was. Was it made lovingly by someone else for you? Was it from a packet? Was it rich and saucy or perhaps salty and crunchy? Did it hit the spot? Can you think of a favourite childhood food that you often experience a deep longing for? 

Sobelle goes on to mimic a restaurant scene, handing out microphones, menus, and things that can be loosely described as meals to audience members. We are part of the show, sharing memories and reactions. He alternates between affable waitstaff to someone boorish and eye rolling. It is very fun. One of the subsequent scenes is him, sat solo in the spotlight, bingeing through plates and plates of food, with disgustingly audible breaths and gulps and snorts, something akin to the scene in Spirited Away where Chihiro’s parents make the transition to pigs. It feels like a mirror to all those times we eat alone in such a way. 

Then, the show completely changes. I won’t say anymore, lest I reveal too much. You shall have to go and sample for yourself…

Get your tickets for Food here

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