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Let your tastebuds take flight as Gastronomic lands in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 15:49 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:21 05 September 2018

On the set of Gastronomic at the Theatre Royal with director Jack Lowe.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

On the set of Gastronomic at the Theatre Royal with director Jack Lowe. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Archant 2017

A new aeroplane dining theatre experience has arrived in the city, taking you on a journey through the flavours of the world.

Gastronomic lands at Stage Two at Norwich Theatre Royal from September 6 to 22 and combines cutting-edge technology with a five-course tasting menu.

The audience will be taken on a journey from Lebanon back to London Heathrow on a Boeing 747 in 2021 and as they fly over rainforests, mountain ranges, oceans and deserts, the chefs on board tell their story.

There will be a cast of three actors and four technicians on stage and chefs from Norwich restaurants Benedicts, Shiki, The Assembly House and Namaste will prepare the food backstage.

The show is directed by Jack Lowe from Norwich-based theatre company Curious Directive who devised environmentally-themed play Frogman at Stage Two last year which used virtual reality to tell the story.

Mr Lowe was inspired to create Gastronomic after watching a demonstration by technology giants Apple and he thought about the communal experience of that.

Gastronomic rehearsals Credit: Curious DirectiveGastronomic rehearsals Credit: Curious Directive

He also got partial inspiration from a work trip to the Middle East when he bonded with colleagues while thinking about and preparing what to eat each evening.

Mr Lowe said: “We wanted to do a play about food in a very unusual environment which is how we arrived at setting it on a plane.

“Food on aeroplanes goes back to the early 20th Century.

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“That experience of eating together on board can be a real opportunity to learn a lot from each other and we also wanted to try things with food and bring in the theatricality.

“We used the idea of molecular cuisine as a starting point.

Creative team for Gastronomic including chefs at The Assembly House, Benedicts, Namaste and Shiki Credit: Norwich Theatre RoyalCreative team for Gastronomic including chefs at The Assembly House, Benedicts, Namaste and Shiki Credit: Norwich Theatre Royal

“It used to be seen as a new-fangled expensive thing but now key cooks are trying these techniques.

“Someone like Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck has also been doing some amazing things.

“We are looking at things like how the weight of a fork makes you feel, the colour of the plates, the texture of the food in the mouth and even the sound it makes in your mouth.

“Gastronomic explores the movement of ingredients across the world and how food provides a backdrop to amazing and sad moments in our lives and in nearly all cultures it is used to welcome people.”

The creative process during rehearsals has been an interesting one.

Gastronomic, Stage 2 at the Theatre Royal. PHOTO: Visit NorwichGastronomic, Stage 2 at the Theatre Royal. PHOTO: Visit Norwich

Jack and his team started off with ideas and themes to feature but there was no script on day one of rehearsals and the show has been completely devised by the company over the last three weeks.

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Whilst the exact plot and menu are being kept secret, the menu will centre around one ingredient and iPads will also feature in the piece.

He added: “We are living in an Instagram world and people take photographs of everything that they do. We are going to be inviting people to take photos during the show.

“We work with digital technology and augmented reality with the food placed on top of iPads and scenes will play out on them.”

So get ready to take flight without leaving the ground and with no passport required.

On the set of Gastronomic at the Theatre Royal with director Jack Lowe. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018On the set of Gastronomic at the Theatre Royal with director Jack Lowe. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Gastronomic takes place at Stage Two at Norwich Theatre Royal from September 6 to 22 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6.45pm and 8.45pm.

Tickets cost £27.50 and £25 for under-30s.

There is also an audio-described performance on September 22 at 6.45pm and captioned performance on September 20 at 6.45pm.

To book, visit the Norwich Theatre Royal website or call the box office on 01603 63000.

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