National Theatre, London: Live in HD

The Kitchen

Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 7 p.m.

 kitchen

The Kitchen  

1950s London. In the kitchen of an enormous West End restaurant, the orders are piling up: a post-war feast of soup, fish, cutlets, omelettes and fruit flans. Fifteen hundred customers an' half of them eating fish. I had to start work on a Friday.

Thrown together by their work, chefs, waitresses and porters from across Europe -- English, Irish, German, Jewish -- argue and flirt as they race to keep up. Peter, a high-spirited young cook, seems to thrive on the pressure. In between preparing dishes, he manages to strike up an affair with married waitress Monique, the whole time dreaming of a better life. But in the all-consuming clamour of the kitchen, nothing is far from the brink of collapse.

We all said we wouldn't last the day, but tell me - what is there a man can't get used to?

Arnold Wesker's extraordinary play premiered at the Royal Court in 1959 and has since been performed in over 30 countries. THE KITCHEN puts the workplace centre stage in a blackly funny and furious examination of life lived at breakneck speed, when work threatens to define who we are. Directed by Bijan Sheibani (an NT Associate Director).

THE KITCHEN features an ensemble of 30 people and is set in a kitchen, using real food and with actors actually cooking and preparing food on stage -- it is a tour de force spectacle and has been frequently performed all throughout Europe since its first appearance.

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