FeastFest: 'Eating is an activity which links everyone in commonality; we all have something to say about food'

Food for thought

Feast / credit: Volkan Erkan

We tuck into the new venture which aims to combine the joys of performance with more gastronomic delights

For those tackling the Edinburgh Festivals in the right spirit – that is, diving headlong into the programme with a checklist of as many shows as can possibly be seen in one day – we advise taking a healthy approach and factoring in a couple of stops where food can be taken onboard. If you need any reminders to take care of yourself in this way, hopefully seeing some shows from the inaugural Edinburgh FeastFest programme will keep you right.

Instigated by London-based performing arts management agency Performance Infinity, FeastFest is something of an experiment, an exercise in marrying the strangely widespread fascination with food among a number of disparate Fringe shows with a semblance of joined-up programming, to help guide people who like to think about art and their appetite at the same time to shows they might like.

It's also a widening of the cultural horizons, with the shows presented originating in a host of countries around the world. Having premiered at the Southbank Centre in 2018, Citizens of Nowhere? (Sweet Novotel, 16–25 Aug) is a site-specific audio-visual piece in a hotel bar, which allows the audience to eavesdrop on the wedding plans of a bickering British-Chinese family through headphones; light refreshments shall be served.

Food for thought

image: Hold On Let Go / credit: Luke Waddington

Recommended for many reasons, not least the soundtrack by Maximo Park's Paul Smith, Unfolding Theatre's Hold On Let Go (Summerhall, 31 Jul–25 Aug) should be a particular treat. It's about memory – what we choose to remember and what we let our technology take care of for us – but an integral part of the show is live bread-making. At the same venue, Clout Theatre's FEAST (Summerhall, 6–18 Aug) – produced between the UK, Turkey and France – is a returning work of dance and physical theatre which looks at our relationship with food and drink, using milk and meat as props.

New Zealand's Java Dance, meanwhile, present their own dance and physical theatre performance which sounds as though it's cut from the same block of butter as FEAST; except this time the focus is solely upon Chocolate (Assembly Rooms, 1–24 Aug). Finally, for younger audiences, storyteller Daniel Serridge presents Feast of Fools (Scottish Storytelling Centre, 1–18 Aug), a series of stories about food which won't necessarily leave you feeling hungry by the end (it's for ages four and older).

'Our idea is that we want the theatre to be as close as possible to our daily life,' says Performance Infinity director and FeastFest founder Joanna Dong. 'By presenting works from different cultural backgrounds, the festival encourages people to not only respect the differences between each other but also celebrate the similarities we share.

'Eating is an activity which links everyone in commonality, we all have something to say about food, whether it relates to our memories of childhood, family or friends … it can also represent our countries, religions and traditional values. In this spirit, we aim to use food as a tool to promote internationalism in the theatre.'

FeastFest, various venues, Edinburgh, until 25 Aug, feastfest.org

Hold On Let Go

  • 3 stars

Unfolding Theatre stages this play about memory and what happens when we forget something important that could change the world.

Citizens of Nowhere?

  • 4 stars

“… a nuanced and compelling look at the evolution of identity” (oughttobeclowns.com) A funny and moving real-time live audio drama by award-winning writer, Ming Ho, directed by David Jiang. British-Chinese matriarch Linda Lo (Pik-Sen Lim) has come to London to announce a decision to her son Jun Chi (Siu Hun Li) and…

Feast

Clout Theatre / Performance Infinity A show about food. From primitive struggle, through the baroque excess to technological perversion, how has our relationship with nourishment changed throughout history? This one-woman show employs physical theatre, clowning and multimedia to delve into consumerism's excesses and…

Feast of Fools

  • 4 stars

Daniel Serridge Ever poured gravy into your hat? Eaten next to a Sultan? Had a dinner party with the devil? Well now’s your chance. The Feast of Fools will make this happen and more in one of the most unusual feeds you’ll ever have. Join storyteller Daniel Serridge at his dinner table of foolishness as he regales you…

Chocolate

Java Dance Theatre It's time to taste. We bring you inside a rich dark chocolatey story. Dance. Theatre. Lush live music. Cacao pods burst, melted chocolate flows and cravings surge. Immerse yourself in cacao, conflicting desires, the anticipation of tasting and full-bodied wild sensory dance. Brought to you by Feast…

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