Simon Munnery's La Concepta

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 18 Aug 2012

Any show where an audience comprises of only eight members might indicate that the artist has a dud on their hands. But this is a feature of design for Simon Munnery’s La Concepta, "le restaurant conceptuel" where dining out comes “without the shame of eating.” This anti-culinary adventure begins on a quiet residential road tucked away in New Town, where prospective diners form an orderly queue at the behest of the bouncer (Munnery). Whittling away the minutes spent in line by telling a succession of doorman jokes (“how many doormen does it take to screw in a light bulb?” etc etc), diners are soon shut into a narrow hallway, eagerly awaiting their foodless feast. After being screamed at by a neo-Nazi in a contamination suit, we are welcomed into La Concepta, where a moustachioed Munnery flits between the roles of maitre d’, chef and waiter.

This is an impossibly unusual experience, but an experience it is. After being seated at the table, each participant must select an item off the menu, perhaps the Plat Belgique, where the entire country is fitted onto one plate, or the Pasta for One, which contains no pasta but a lot of swearing. Abstract, whimsical madness doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Munnery’s energy is unwavering, and his stint as the maitre d’ is where he really shines. But one can’t help but question what he is trying to achieve in this madcap 40 minutes – is this supposed to be an out and out farce, or an informed polemic on the absurdity of haute cuisine? It’s quite impossible to tell. Then again, I expect that may be the point.