Fear & Delight by Strut & Fret was always going to be hard to put into words.
From being wrist-tied to an unkown stranger to a unnerved by some confronting culinary creations, I can’t think of another event where I have had so much gastro-theatrical fun.
We gathered first with another 80 or so other diners at a secluded corner of the Garden of Unearthly Delights (part of Adelaide Fringe), sampling beef jerky with ant hollandaise as we received early instructions for the night. Blindfolds essential, which we passed around our immediate group of 10.
In through the doors and a few nervous giggles as we are offered a tray from which to choose (red or white) with some “hallucinogenic tea”.
Through the trees and pathways to the The Devils Lighthouse, an awesome reconstruction of a deep south gospel church, and D’Arenburg champagne (and a few other surprises) flowed. I almost missed the bolt of white sprinting past us into the night.
Into the church to receive communion from an unnerving evangelical preacher in white.
More food, confronting more than comforting.
Dinner steps things up to another level. Our preacher serving us D’Arenburg Wine.
From a bike. On demand.
From the Heston style Magic Soup (a stock shaped head dissolving into a large glass bowl of warming broth) to the Caged-Cocks and Roasted Roots (wood fired chickens and vegetables), and the Cerebral Delight (brain shaped panne cotte).
Of course there was more, but why give away all the surprise.
I think I enjoyed the broth most of all, it seemed strangely comforting as only a broth can in a night that manufactured unease from the start. Wine please.
Others around me were tucking into the chicken, cleverly served in ceremonial trays with feet still intact.
Then with food service done we were front row for the show, the table magically transformed into a rippling acrobatic performance, set to the awesome beats of The Correspondents with added belting vocals by ex-Adelaide Simone Page Jones (pictured above). Comedic contortionist Spencer Novich had us rolling – google that one, he’s out-there clever.
Way too early the show was done. We were back at the Devils lighthouse, testing out the vapourised Gin & Tonic room, milling around the church – which now seemed so much more farm-yard friendly than before.
Fear & Delight was utterly unforgettable. Sexy and cool, it was one of the best nights I can remember. I now have The Correspondents on regular rotation.
If you want to read more – head over here. If you get the chance to go, do it.
And in case you are wondering, I paid my own way to attend this event.
Fear & Delight Complete Experience – $150 all tix
The Show (9pm) – $58
The Devils Lighthouse – $17
Coming to the Brisbane Festival in 2015 – 4-25 September. Go.