An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf

By Michael Hollinger

Directed by Kay O Brien

Much of the seven-course dinner served at the Café du Grand Boeuf is a cross between The Big Night and Fawlty Towers. Unlike the Big Night dinner which almost doesn't come off and the English hostelry's constant epicurean mishaps, the dinner at Café du Grand Boeuf is cooked to perfection. However, since Victor (Phil Mueller), the lone diner who maintains the restaurant to be at the exclusive service of his epicurean whims is bent on starving himself to death, this dinner is served on empty plates. Well, not really empty. With the entire cafe staff hovering nearby, the headwaiter Claude (David Ware) serves each dish with great flourish and a description so whimsically baroque that you can almost taste it. Roast rabbit consommé is followed by pheasant with truffles, then chateaubriand. Finally, there's the chef's (Adam Fogelson)-- and the playwright's -- pièce de résistance, a lethally delectable crême brulée.

As we proceed through this "Last Supper" the canniness of Michael Hollinger's script becomes ever more apparent. Without sacrificing the prevailing zaniness of the situation, he flavors it all with enough sadness about dashed hopes and inertia to make this a menu filled with food for thought as well as laughter

Produced by Too Busy To Play Players at Fortney Underground Theatre, 100 North Main St, Viroqua, WI

Performances: April 2-18, 2009

Performance Times: April 2,3,4,10,11,12(mat),16,17,18

Ticket Prices: $10/$5

Call 608-637-8559 for reservations or more information.

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