The Anorexic Chef.
The reason why Gordon Bleu (Will Tait) is an anorexic — and alcoholic — chef gives the play its rainbow element. Until we discover that reason, it's hard to see what makes this a Midsumma production.
Bleu is an Inuit who has fled his former life and has illegally started a restaurant in Australia. He's running it singlehandedly, meeting the needs of his demanding customers — the super-sized Larda Pamplona Paternoster (Hilary Fairchild), the always-buys-what-he-wants Oswald Paternoster (Benedict Joshua de Castella) — and the entirely undemanding Silenzia Zita Paternoster (Kirri Buchler). Then Wanda Antheopoulis (Eloise Bowden) arrives seeking a job and ends up helping Bleu face his past.
The piece is carried by the character of Gordon Bleu. Will Tait is rubbery in a Jim Carrey way, bringing a playful physicality to the role. He also resembles Linguini from Ratatouille, especially when he loses his hat and we see his cow's lick.
Despite the comedy, Bleu carries much pain and Tait brings this out perfectly. His performance is effortless and he has you laughing even as he makes you want to sit down with Bleu so you can slit your wrists together.
Will Tait's performance is the reason why you should see The Anorexic Chef.
Daniel G Taylor
Photos: (Top) Hilary Fairchild, Ben deCastella, Will Tait, Eloise Bowden and Kirri Buchl. Lower: Hilary Fairchild, Kirri Buchler, Will Tait and Ben de Castella. Photographer: Murray Symes.