A La Carte is a comic battle between a faux French Chef and a wily lobster set to live accordion music. A La Carte is highly physical, playful interactive comedy featuring clowning, puppetry and a few unruly vegetables. A La Carte begins as the clown Chef sets the table for the Grand Opening of his 2-seat cafe. From the moment he flips over the open sign, Le Chef Profesional stirs audience members into the action, from recruiting contestants for a carrot peeling race to selecting the restaurant’s first customers, Madame and Monsieur Importante. However, before the Chef can impress his very important guests, dinner's main ingredient stages a rebellion. Who knew crustaceans could concoct such delicious mischief? An example of how physical comedy and puppetry can transcend across languages to demonstrate that laughter is truly universal.
"Chris and Shari are masters. . . imaginative, quirky, and sheer fun." - Sandy Spieler, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre.
"A La Carte: In a Fool's Kitchen" is located somewhere in the hazy intersection of French poet Gerard de Nerval, Stanley Tucci's film "Big Night" and public television's "Sesame Street." The piece, which combines puppetry and live action, is a family friendly show that even the most jaded aesthete can enjoy. The action (and it is all action!) centers around a hapless French chef and the opening day of his new restaurant. The bumbling protagonist is played by Christopher Griffith, who repeats the mantra "je suis un chef professionale" with increaing desperation. His antagonist is a saucy lobster, played by Shari Aronson. Several Audience members are also onstage, playing the restaurant's customers and junior cooks. Although "A La Carte" is clearly visualized as a children's play by its creators, the brilliance of its slapstick routines is on par with anything from the glory days of Laurel and Hardy. With the outside world so dreary despite the sunshine, this unassuming puppet show masterfully fulfills its promise to amuse. (Niels Strandskov, MN Daily News)
Audience Reviews from the 2003 Minnesota Fringe Festival:
The On-Going Battle with Clown and Lobster
Laughs from start to finish. This fast pace family friendly show takes place in a small single table restaurant owned by a clown trying to impress his first guests with a special lobster dinner. The lobster, however, has a different plan. This fun-filled show is 40 minutes of pure entertainment for all ages. This will be the one show that you will be glad you went out of your way to see. The comedy duo take it all to the highest levels of clowning, puppetry, and enjoyment. This is a show that must not be missed. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll see it again. – Jeffrey L. (Posted on Aug. 3)
A wonderful show for the child in all of us
OK, I got to admit I have a soft spot in my heart for this show because "le chef" brought our 5 year old up on stage -- TWICE! Our little boy loved it and has excited told us a number of times since "I was on stage!" What a wonderful introduction to this year's Fringe! This is a very funny show and a must see for anyone from 5 to 95! – Chris G. (Posted on Aug. 5)
This show is dellightful: wonderful comedy, fun music, and lobsters. What more could we want? The kids in the audience were captivated. – Lori-Anne W. (Posted on Aug. 4)
A Cheerful Culinary Adventure
Do you have a seafood allergy? A La Carte will cure it! This delightfully silly show features masterful clowning by Chris Griffith as "un chef professionel" and peppy puppetry by Shari Aronson as the beleagured chef's defiant lobster cuisine. With just a gentle dash of audience participation, the show never comes on too strong. Regardless of your age, if you're hungry for a taste of laughter, A La Carte is a treat! From Circus Minimus, un troupe puppetry delicieux! – Diane R.. (Posted on Aug. 3)
From the moment the clown chef entered the auditorium, communicating with the audience in his own wonderful variation of French, he had us in the palm of his hand. Kids and adults alike gladly became a part of this interactive show. The audience participation was all handled so gently and with such respect for the audience. It was never at an audience member's expense. Between the clowning and the delightful lobster puppetry, the gentle humor was only interrupted by the regular belly laughs. The live accordion music was icing on the cake. – Kurt H. (Posted on Aug. 2)
Most fun I've ever had wile learning French. The best part about this show is children's reactions to lobsters and flying vegetables. The live accordion player was excellent. If you like kids or still want to be one, this is a very whimsical and enjoyable fringe show.. – Alexander G. (Posted on Aug. 5)
Funniest chef in the fringe!
With three people, an hour time slot, and a funny lobster you can go a long way when it comes to comedy!! A definate 4 star show! – Marry J.. (Posted on Aug. 3)
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