By: Faith Hofer
Salty Dinner Theater is interactive, family-friendly dining at its best. The cast performs at different dining venues across the Utah and Salt Lake valleys, from Provo to Layton. I saw Bride of Frankenstein performed at Old Spaghetti Factory, University Place in Orem. The family style seating of a dining room means most couples are seated with at least one other, and chatting between guests is encouraged not only by the seating but the actors themselves. Before the show, several performers make the rounds to each table fully in character. William Waldman (Ryan Golding) comes over to reassure us that we are perfectly safe, no one ever disappears in the woods, and certainly no one is ever eaten there after a nightmare sound in the woods (cue nervous giggle), no sir! The nightmare lurking right behind him (Jason Jones, Frankenstein’s monster) does not speak but his silence conveys more menace than a speech. It sets the mood and whets everyone’s appetite with a taste of what is to come.
What does come later includes sudden death, a fight set to Michael Jackson music complete with a single glove, and rapid-fire jokes referencing movies, shows, social media, and local culture–and that’s just in the first five minutes. The Waldman family (including William Waldman’s sister Margaret, played by Kami Henderson, and his mother, Professor Wilhelmina, played by Jamie Haderlie) has fun in their roles opposite the reanimated monsters (Kassandra Torres as the bride along with the Frankenstein’s monster). Live singing by Jamie Haderlie for the dinner and dessert service stays in spooky theme with the show–and yes, Thriller does make an appearance.
Salty Dinner Theater is not high brow serious entertainment, but it is seriously funny. The jokes fly so quickly, you may miss a few. Some are laid on so thick, other cast members point them out in character to the delight of the audience. Pop culture features heavily in the humor so the younger audience is more appreciative, although there were enough jokes referencing older media, marriage, and local culture to satisfy most demographics. The audience can be young indeed as this is a family show. Children, toddlers, and even infants were in attendance.
Salty Dinner Theater’s main draw, besides the comedy and the food, is the audience interaction. In addition to the pre-show character mingling, the observers are occasionally handed props at random, talked to directly by the cast mid-production, or asked if they would possibly share a bite of spaghetti with a hungry reanimated corpse who hasn’t eaten in weeks. The dining service intermissions are the stars of the interactive format. During the dinner service audience members are brought up for contests that win dinner tickets–this time, couples chased each other around the room to music pretending to electrocute/animate their partners enough to win over the audience. During dessert service everyone is invited to get up and dance to the music with the cast. Afterwards, guests can take a picture with the cast.
The mics worked perfectly, the cast moved smoothly around the chairs and audience (even when maneuvering two people connected by a long chain), and the sound effects went off without a hitch. A few of the jokes fall flat as the show progresses but with the sheer amount of material flying from every cast member, that’s inevitable. Overall, it was a very enjoyable show full of campy self-aware humor in a packed house. Lots of pictures and some video can be seen at Salty Dinner Theater’s Facebook Page and a live feed with the cast is at Front Row Reviewers Utah’s Facebook Page.
Shows are selling out, so grab tickets before they disappear!
Salty Dinner Theater presents Bride of Frankenstein (a Salty Theater Collaboration)
Tickets: Adults $15/Kids $8, dinner cost varies by venue and selection
Performances: 7:30 PM @ Sizzlers in Orem on 10/9, Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant in Layton on 10/11 & 10/25, Joe Morley’s BBQ in Midvale on 10/13, 10/20, & 10/27, Los Hermanos in Provo on 10/14 & 10/21, Red Lobster in Layton on 10/17, Mimi’s Cafe in Murray on 10/19, and the Old Spaghetti Factory in Orem on 10/28.
Salty Dinner Facebook Page