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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 19, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 42
Murder for breakfast
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Murder for breakfast

Café Nordo's latest culinary adventure is inventive but long

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

SOMETHIN' BURNING
CAFÉ NORDO (AT THEATRE OFF JACKSON)
Through November 18


Café Nordo offers a unique presentation: a theatrical event completely entwined with eating. Each presentation the company has made over the last three years has been focused on an aspect of food education. The team includes scriptwriter Terry Podgorski, who also designs the surroundings and sets; director Erin Brindley, who also creates the menu and supervises the kitchen; and original musical compositions that fit the theme of the show by Annastasia Workman.

They apparently alternate between beverage-oriented shows and full dining experiences. The latest offering, Somethin' Burning, is a cocktail-infused evening with typically ingenious offerings. While non-alcoholic alternatives are offered (some for an extra fee), nondrinkers will miss out on some of the special concoctions of the evening, like the 'Cherry Pie Mimosa' (bourbon-soaked cherries floating in Cava). Others include the 'Cucumber Collins' (Wodka vodka muddled with cucumbers topped with soda) and the 'Bloody Caesar' (house-made Clamato and Wodka vodka).

The food is also unique, and for those with limited palates it might be a challenge, but hey, it's just one evening - you can try it! Their 'coffee and donuts' is actually mashed potatoes and chives, shaped into a fried ring with a coffee cup of gravy for dipping. Lots of fun! Their version of a parfait is Snake River Wagyu beef borscht layered with golden beet borscht puree and horseradish sour cream, served warm - much more of a challenge, but very interesting and fun to look at. And there's more.

The evening is wound tightly around a murder mystery. Apparently someone has murdered Café Nordo's Chef Nordo Lefesczki, who is spoken of as a not-very-nice-man, so it's not such an outlandish idea that someone would want to kill him. The suspects are Angelica (Opal Peachey), whose father recently also died in a suspicious incident; Michael (Max Davis), a hustler hooked up with Angelica; and Delores (Keira McDonald), Nordo's ex-wife. Agent Penn (Evan Mosher, who doubles as the trumpet player) has to get to the bottom of it, and all three stories are inevitably different.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Noah Benezra and M.J. Sieber are two trucker types who are given a tenuous connection to the storyline, but are the conduit for most of the food-education aspect, this time focused on fast food and the history of how our country, and maybe our world, is moving away from real, healthful foods and becoming dependent on speed, sameness, and questionable ingredients.

While the whole Nordo concept is fun and interesting, with the possibility of being exposed to a lot of good food-related information, many times they stretch the evening into the realm of exhaustion. If they would just do much the same thing but cut the running time by about a third, they'd still give people a lot to think about without making it an endurance contest. As it was, Somethin' Burning made its points fairly early, and then just kept on talking. By the fourth 'course,' some audience members were becoming visibly anxious to applaud and leave. Even the insertion of excellent songs (mostly sung by the talented Devin Bannon) just prolonged the evening's deterioration. The actors are all intent and capable, the characterizations are enjoyable, and the story is fun - until it just isn't anymore. Let's raise a glass to the concept and to next time making the event just two hours long.

For more information, go to www.cafenordo.com or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/273355, or call 1-800-838-3006.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters.

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