Babette's Feast On Stage

Rebecca Varidel
13th Sep 2022

For many of my generation, particularly the 'foodies' among us, if we hear the title Babette's Feast we think of the 1987 film that was written and directed by Gabriel Axel. Babette's Feast is regarded as one of the all time great food films. And an Oscar winning film. It is long, slow and deliberate, and a most enjoyable foreign language film that focuses on stunning food photography and the creation of the feast of the film's title. There are however a number of most beautiful underlying themes gently underpinning this story, which really don't get such a chance to shine in the shadow of the cookery and the food.

Babette's Feast as a play, essentially follows the same story, as both the play and the film are adapted from the 1950s short story by Isak Dinesen, yet the play presents a different focus, enabling the upliftment of these themes to the fore.

The Australian premiere of Babette's Feast is presented by Joining The Dots Theatre Company at The Greek Theatre, Marrickville. But don't get me wrong, there is 'food' on stage, and it's highlighted in such stunning and original way by director Nicholas Papademetriou. In fact Papademetriou does a fabulous job with the whole direction gifting us insight into the lives of the remote Norwegian fishing village, the villages, and two sisters. And best of all the French refugee, Babette.

Dina Gillespie delivers a supreme Babette, with perfect posture, gestures and amazing accent. Her husband is French, she told me. So perhaps she has been able to sneak in some extra coaching in the French ways. In any regard, on stage she looks like she carries a past, a closely guarded secret, with poise, humility and generosity. This generosity expanded to unconditional love, and loyalty. And the healing love brings.

Other outstanding performances are received by the Marrickville audience from the two Sisters: Rowena McNicoll as Phillipa and Alison Chambers as Martine - capture the idiosyncrasies of their puritan upbringing and legacy, as well as their hopes and dreams. Among the remaining cast, huge applause for the juggling of multiple characters and accents including suitors young and old, Matt Abotomey and Yves Stening.

Babette's Feast is performing until 17 September 2022.