For three nights at The Calthorpe Arms, we lived in a land between spoken word, hip hop, and theatre. A land where 80's Hollywood blockbusters rudely intruded upon family meals, and the sound of foxes mating was a major cause for concern. What if Mike didn't like Richard?

'Indiana Jones and the Extra Chair' followed our hero as he faced his greatest challenge yet, meeting his mums new boyfriend! Relating to your relations isn't always easy, and it's often those rare occasions when everyone sits down to eat together that things really kick off!

As well as watching the show, guests enjoyed an informally hosted post-show dinner, and the chance to throw a few shapes to the tunes of our authentic 'Wedding DJ'!

In this blog, you can see pictures of them posing for our event photographer, and read the the lists of key family gathering ingredients they scribbled down on paper plates whilst sharing stories and memories over 'buffet supper'...

First up though, take a look at these shakily shot home videos from the event, which our drunken uncle Colin was responsible for. There's a short clip of each of the three main characters in the piece...

Yes there were cheese and pineapple chunks on cocktail sticks. Yes we stuck them in half water-melons to make hedgehogs. And yes, it was magnificent! Thanks so much to everyone who came along, got involved, and helped make the events what they were...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

'Family album' three - Friday 1/10/2010

Friday nights' guests were full of ideas - here's their recipe for a classic family gathering:

A beautiful disaster
“why aren’t you married yet?”
Booze, singing, and party games.
The music man, an early glass of cava, and a brother that you love to wind up.
“when will you get a proper job?”
A performance by the children, swearwords in scrabble
Four mince pies to be thrown at an auntie.
Poker, beers, arguments,
overstayed welcomes.
And questions, always more questions.
“why don’t you give us a grandchild? Do you get paid for that? How could you leave the BBC? Will we see you at Christmas?”
Sunday roast, trifle, a bottle of blue nun,
Grandma’s mushroom volauvents, and a bowl of salt n’ shake crisps.
Those placemats with cottages on that never come out unless a family member comes round.
“Why are you getting so stressed mum?!”
Blue cheese dip, competitive games, food going cold as Irish political arguments reign!
Singstar, grand plans, more food than you need
Inter-generational differences
A lasagne, made with blood, sweat, and tears.
“why can’t you be more like your sister?”
Expectations, anxiety, stress,
Lentil quiche.
And Grandad in his A.C.A. tie; “are you not going to get changed?”
Light entertainment that descends into cheap innuendo,
The youngest one making a quiz.
Food thrown from high-chairs, trivial pursuit,
And, finally, a reserved grown man, crawling around on all fours, imagining he is a turtle.

“why do you have to be different?”

'Family album' two - Thursday 30/9/2010

This delightful bunch believe a true family gatheing is not complete without:

Roast lamb and mint sauce.
Awkward silences, or everyone talking at once.
Food getting burned, drugs in the bedroom
Never. Ending. Monopoly.
Elderflower wine or some kind of cordial.
A Christmas pudding to set off the fire alarm.
A racist nan, an irate child, and a tin of Roses chocolates.
Uncle Roy the barrow boy throwing the turkey at his dad.
English mustard, the ‘popular relative’, secrets that spread through the family.
Sneaky cigarettes in the garden, temper-tantrums in the kitchen,
And a grandma with total, absolute control of the tv remote.
One person who never shows up,
A massive hangover, and the need to look jolly for Christmas photos.
Storytelling, tipsyness, napkin folding.
Snoozing on the couch.
A sister attacking, with a tub of macaroni cheese.
Saying grace at gran’s house.
Tears. Posh cutlery. A good sparky political row.
 The hope that someone not part of the family will join the dinner to lighten the atmosphere.
Booze galore.
Very good manners and a stiff collar.
A truth teller laying it down.
And finally, a 93 year old mother, who, after all these years
Still says someone put something in the punch!

'Family album' one - Wednesday 29/9/2010

If you attend a family gathering hosted by all or any of these beautiful people you will find:

Second helpings, at least two unwanted jumpers, denial.
Big cleaning, and lots of preparations.
Underlying tension diffused by bad jokes.
Continuity and chaos, a third party distraction,
 Grans’ trifle, breadsticks, and Meatloaf (the singles).
A family photo montage on a widescreen telly, with the ratio set all wrong.
A racist step-grandad, competitive cousins, and the chance to see Mum opening a bottle of Cava as soon as it hits 11.30 am...
A manic kitchen with family members, pets, and friends all trying to help but just getting in the way.
A wild card, glazed eyes and red wine, cremated garlic bread.
A very intense game of trivial pursuit.
Fights over gravy, an outspoken toddler, the winning combination of booze and elderly relatives.
Cooking for hours and eating in 20 minutes.
An older brother in the kitchen, stealing as much meat as possible before it gets served.
And finally, an immaculate front room,
 to give the illusion of a happy family...