Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Café Nordo: To Savor Tomorrow – A gastrosongical delight!

The cast of To Savor Tomorrow (Bruce Clayton Tom)
Café Nordo: To Savor Tomorrow
Through June 5, 2016

Challenging noshes, creative cocktails, some singing and dancing, and a clichéd-to-laugh-at storyline are on available for an affordable price as Café Nordo reprises and revises one of its earlier ventures, To Savor Tomorrow.

It’s 1962. This James Bond knock-off flies you overseas on a transcontinental flight from Asia to Seattle, just in time for the World’s Fair. We meet several spies loading aboard as flight crew. Chinese spies Jiang Ping (Sara Porkalob) and her henchman (Richard Sloniker) are bar crew. Russian spy Svetlana Romanova (Opal Peachey) is a stewardess (no “flight attendants” yet). CIA agent Bob (Mark Siano) is a supposed pilot. They are all trying to get their hands on Professor Peter Proudhurst’s briefcase.

The professor (Evan Mosher) is educating passengers about new technology, genetically alterned grain, that will enable crops to feed thousands of more people as they become resistant to pesticides. Of course, in 2016, we have many opinions about whether that development by Monsanto and others made for better crops or much worse ones. The spies look at the seed technology in the briefcase as either a terror to avoid or a way to destroy America from within!
 
With random songs and dances scattered throughout, the cast (augmented by flight crew Alyssa Norling and Heather Refvem) serves a multi-course food and beverage selection. The menu is crafted to match aspects of the script with a Russian course, a Chinese course, an American course and cocktails to match.

It’s a complicated and very distinct menu, so you should peruse it ahead of time here (www.cafenordo.com). If there are food items that even accommodation (gluten free or vegan) doesn’t “fix,” you might want to eat a bit ahead of time so you don’t feel hungry. For instance, their first offering to you as you enter is a Bloody Mary Jello shot! I’m not sure anyone else has ever created one of these!

Nordo’s mission is to educate about food, food regulations, food science, and food values. Their shows include both drinks and meal courses that they innovate and build themselves. The executive chef and food designer is Erin Brindley. Her partner in script writing and story development is Terry Podgorski.

So far, every show has also included live music written and orchestrated by Annastasia Workman. She has won a Gypsy Rose Lee Local Composing award from the Seattle Theater Writers for a past Nordo show and been nominated for others. Here, she augments what she created for the first mounting of this production with a small band, hoping to create a “Henry Mancini orchestra” sound.

Annastasia reports to me that, “All the songs were pretty much pre-recorded last time, which I needed to do to get that fully-orchestrated ‘60s style sound. When it's just me at the piano, or even me and a drummer, I usually improvise a lot of the underscore. When I (now) add in a bass player, that suddenly makes it imperative that I actually write out all the underscore I'm playing so the bassist knows what's going on. But it's always more fun for me and for the audience when there is a band, don't you agree?” And I do.

This is a slick revision of a very fun show. The new set in their new and permanent location is absolutely gorgeous, and totally reminiscent of a large airplane with above the upper-storage glow lighting.

The direction by Keira McDonald is crisp, and somehow, she and Porkalob found an absolutely hysterical “sniff” for Jiang that totally makes her character! The choreography by Nicole Beerman is perfect, along with a very funny, but very challenging slow motion moment that the cast nails!

The food and drink is so different that it is an adventure all on its own. You might save a bit if you don’t order the drink flight, but you’ll definitely miss out on adventure, and won’t get the “Dwinkie” at the end – a combination of a Twinkie and a drink.


I recommend this show as a gastrosongical delight. Luckily, it also has a fairly long run and Sunday night shows to make it easy for you to schedule it!