By Jennifer Mustoe
If you have never been to Salty Dinner Theater before, you must understand one thing. Yes, it is a dinner theater, but the focus isn’t necessarily on DINNER. It’s on THEATER, and interactive theater at that. If you are hoping for a sedate meal where a few people sort of wander around and juggle but not much else, I suggest you just go to McDonald’s and watch the kids fight–I mean play–in the play area. Salty Dinner Theater gives you FUN with a capital F.
I have been to many of SDT’s productions, but the idea of fun must be catching on, because the crowd that was at Orem’s Spaghetti Factory was the coolest one yet. MANY of the patrons became participants, dancing in a conga line, clapping merrily, getting into it completely. And SDT has a portion of their production where they have a contest–this one being who is the best Merry Man to be with Robin Hood–and the three men chosen from the audience were hilarious. They were supposed to put on green “tights” (a huge pair of scrubs) and one man tied the pair on his head like a hat, one man put them completely over his head so he couldn’t see (and then danced around in place–hysterically funny), and one man actually shrugged on the pants. I mean, these guys really got into the spirit of fun. They don’t actually finish out the show as a Merry Man. But it’s a bit of fun contest entertainment Salty Dinner Theater does in every show.
The food at Spaghetti Factory is good. You choose from three entrees, all very tasty and very affordable. Around 10 bucks. And waiters bring you the food.
Before the show, the actors in the play come table to table and introduce themselves and interact with the patrons. During this time, there is “Robin Hood-like” music playing and that is one of the dings I give this show. The music was too loud and I had to shout to chat with my friend and with the actors before the show. Music is also part of the production, as there is a singer who performs in between acts while the meal is being served. Again, too loud. But Maid Marian (Michelle Moore) has a gorgeous voice and again, the crowd participated.
The show is fun and SDT did their homework by talking about the real Robin Hood’s (played by Scott Moore–who was awesome) background–being in the Holy Wars before coming home, having his land taken by the evil Sheriff (played winningly by Jeremy Preston Jonsson–an excellent bad guy and a regular player for the company.) Then Robin became the hero we are familiar with, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
Tania Hall Sayer, another SDT regular, played Little Jane. Sayer is really comfortable in this genre of improv performing: singing and goofing around with the patrons. She really goes all out and is super fun. Jason H. Jones played Friar Tuck and he, too, did a great job. A tight group that interacted well with each other and the goofy folks that came to the show.
The script of the show includes a lot of funny comments that deal with contemporary issues, so there are lots of laughs. It wasn’t as tight as some of the shows I’ve seen this theater company do in the past and there were gaps, as if the actors were unsure of their exits and entrances or unfamiliar with their lines. But that is me being picky. The couple at our table raved about the show and had actually driven from north of SLC to come. They are season ticket holders and wanted to try the Spaghetti Factory. Almost every show I’ve gone to has this–season ticket holders who come from far away to try out the venues. I find this impressive.
Salty Dinner shows are family friendly, though this show had a rather odd reference that only adults would understand that fell rather flat. It may have been the conservative Utah County crowd. However, all in all, the show was very enjoyable and my friend who accompanied me, an actor as well, said he could NEVER do the improv that is required by the SDT company–that they are truly great performers. I agree–heartily.
After the show, be sure to get your photo snapped with the cast and then check the Salty Dinner Theater’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/saltydinnertheater) to find the photos.
For information about shows and the many venues they play in, please go to their website: