Review: Scripts for Supper at the London Cooking Project

When I was chatting to MasterChef semi-finalist Annie McKenzie last week about her new theatrical dining experience, Scripts for Supper, she told me it was about “feeding people, getting them drunk and telling them a good story”. This perfectly sums up the festivities last night (and again tonight) at the London Cooking Project in Battersea, where I think it’s fair to say an excellent time was had by all – and not only because the alcohol was flowing freely throughout.

I don’t mind admitting I was a bit nervous to be turning up solo – sitting by yourself in a dark theatre is one thing, going out for dinner is quite another. But those fears didn’t last long; after a warm welcome on the door, I was handed the first of many, many drinks and adopted on to a lovely table just in time to enjoy the delicious canapes.

Photo credit: Milly Kenny-Ryder
Photo credit: Milly Kenny-Ryder

Now, I’m no food critic (or indeed MasterChef judge) so you’ll have to forgive my uneducated terminology and just take my word for it that the Elizabethan inspired five course feast, prepared by Annie and sous chef Alice Devine, was incredible. As someone who can be a bit of a fussy eater, I ate everything that was put in front of me and would have happily gone back for seconds of all of it. It’s hard to choose a favourite – contenders include the cheese on toast starter and the pork with mustard, leeks and caramelised shallot main course, but I think the dessert – vanilla parfait with rhubarb and rosewater jelly and Shrewsbury mille feuille – just stole the crown for me. Every course was accompanied by a fresh drink: cocktail, white wine, red wine, ale, more wine… I doubt mine was the only sore head this morning, but it was totally worth it.

And as if all this wasn’t enough, there was also theatre, as between courses the cast took off their aprons and presented scenes from Twelfth Night for our entertainment. Directed by Alex Payne, this version wisely discards the complicated Malvolio side plot (as much as I love that bit, we’d still be there now if we’d tried to get through everything) and focuses solely on the central love triangle between Viola/Cesario (Clio Davies), Orsino (Damien Hughes) and Olivia (Alice Trow), with Sebastian making a brief but necessary appearance at the end in the form of a wooden spoon. So it’s less Twelfth Night and more the edited highlights, but with enough continuity – and a bit of helpful explanation – to keep track of what’s going on. There’s also musical accompaniment throughout the evening from Edo Elia, who drifted around the room chatting to the guests while his fellow cast members were serving, looking like he was having the best time ever.

Photo credit: Milly Kenny-Ryder
Photo credit: Milly Kenny-Ryder

It really was a fabulous night – theatre, wine, good company and great food combining to create something pretty special. It’s also in a very unique venue; the London Cooking Project is a new private social enterprise hidden away in the middle of a housing estate in Battersea, with an open plan kitchen and dining area perfect for an intimate gathering like this one. Above all, the evening was a reminder that theatre doesn’t have to exist in its own little box, and is something that should be experienced and shared, not just seen.

Whether you’re a fan of food, drink, theatre, or all three, grab your tickets while you can for tonight – and here’s hoping there’ll be many more opportunities to check out Scripts for Supper in the future.


Can’t see the map on iPhone? Try turning your phone to landscape and that should sort it. I don’t know why but I’m working on it… 😉

Interview: Annie McKenzie, Scripts for Supper

A little over a year ago, I was reviewing Annie McKenzie’s solo show Happiness is a Cup of Tea at the 2016 VAULT Festival. Since then, life’s changed a bit for Annie; a few months later, she was performing for a very different audience on her way to becoming a semi-finalist in the 2016 series of BBC’s MasterChef. And now she’s bringing together her two passions in new project Scripts for Supper, which launches in Battersea next week.

“Scripts for Supper is a theatrical dining experience that combines food and theatre in the only way I know how – by feeding people, getting them drunk and telling them a good story,” she explains. “Be that Shakespeare, Chekhov, Lorca or Beckett – it’d be the same, but we choose our food, plays and vices as carefully as possible.”

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For her first production, Annie’s chosen one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, Twelfth Night. The reason? “‘If music be the food of love, play on!’ Need I say more?”

The play will be accompanied by a five-course dinner, with a cocktail and canapés upon arrival, and a menu specially designed for the occasion. “It’s inspired by Shakespeare and Elizabethan England, but has me written all over it,” says Annie. “I cook food that people want to eat. Things that make people go: YUM! You can expect cockles, brown shrimps, pork, potatoes, rhubarb, cheese, cream, booze, booze, booze and a lot more besides! Oh – and did I mention booze?”

The project is a collaboration with Battersea’s London Cooking Project: “My lovely friends Billy and Jack of MasterChef 2016 final fame have done a few fabulous evenings at The London Cooking Project, which is how we came to be put in touch with them,” explains Annie. “If I’m honest though, I think it was pure luck and a bit of serendipity that led to us teaming up. I can’t tell you how wonderful Emma and the team at LDN Cooking Project are. Please look on their website to find out about all the incredible community projects that they’re up to.”

The idea to bring together food and theatre has been brewing for some time, and Annie’s excited about the prospect of combining two of her favourite things. “I had the idea that I wanted to create something with food and theatre ever since I was on MasterChef – it just took a long time to develop it and make it into a reality. It means a huge amount, of course. I’m giving everything I have to this project and am working with people I love dearly. It might be weird not to be ‘acting’ – but I am, in a way… I’m still on show… well, my food is.

“There have been many wonderful projects recently around theatre and food – Faulty Towers, Les Enfants Terribles – let’s just hope my idea can be a contender.”

Catch Scripts For Supper Present… A Retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the London Cooking Project on 4th March.