Dinner theater, that staple of summer resorts, gets a bad rap: tired scripts, bland food, performers of modest talent. But Seattle audiences have an admirable exception: a zany company of performers known as Cafe Nordo, whose twice-a-year dinner shows combine more-than-decent food (from pop-up kitchens) with pointed, topical satire.
It started four years ago, when Terry Podgorski and Erin Brindley, alums of a successful variety show known as Circus Contraption, created the persona of a fictional martinet, Chef Nordo Lefeszki. Their first production, in Fremont, brought together a cast of semi-professional entertainers for a show called The Modern American Chicken. The tuxedoed and feathered cast performed the saga of a hapless, happy hen named Henrietta.
“A hen is the egg’s way of making another egg,” said one character, energetically whipping egg whites. “And what makes a good egg? A good hen.”
From Fremont to Pioneer Square, from the International District to Washington Hall on the fringe of the CD, the Cafe Nordo players have found novel ways to tell their stories. A tribute to the Twin Peaks TV series; a nostalgic look at air travel; a parody of Gunsmoke-era westerns. The satire is always pointed squarely at big business, big government, big agriculture, easy targets for Podgorski’s sharp pen.