“Cafe Nordo: Sauced”

Does “dinner theatre” bring to your mind some suburban venue where portly commuters and their overdressed wives take in a night of roast beef and “The Music Man”? Think again. “Sauced” is dinner served with in-your-face noir theatre around and among the audience at Nordo’s Culinarium in Pioneer Square.

Seattle’s first incarnation of “Sauced” took place some five years ago in, of all places, the back warehouse of Theo Chocolate where it played to sold-out crowds. This new incarnation brings the verisimilitude of a vintage venue.

Sauced - Siano and Wildrick and the mic (c) Bruce Clayton Tom

Siano and Wildrick and the mic (c) Bruce Clayton Tom

Patrons dine on oysters Rockefeller, stuffed quail and other such gourmet treats. They sip a variety of specially prepared cocktails paired with each of the five courses, and find themselves immersed in the 1930s after prohibition where jealous women vie for the love of impresario Mike Binnet, played with a slippery sophistication by Mark Siano. There’s an all-wise bartender, a history spouting trumpet player, and a dialog that’s a blend of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler with just a dash of Hemingway.

Billie Wildrick as Charlotte provides the smoldering sex. Never has a form fitting red gown been better placed. And Wildrick knows just how to make the most out of its revealing bodice and side-slit skirt. She moves her hips like she’s had a lot of practice. Her competitor for the wily Mike Binnet is Opal Peachey who you might think hasn’t a chance given her role as demurely dressed hostess, but Opal has a few surprises to offer.

The band, under the direction of Anastasia Workman, plays all the tunes of the era along with original music (by Workman) that suits the mood. Siano, Wildrick, and Peachey provide fine vocals. Meanwhile the Culinarium itself offers the ’30s ambiance. The only thing missing are mobsters with machine guns.

“Sauced” is above all just great fun. Its script will win no prizes, just as film noir B-movies don’t. But you don’t go here for literary excellence. What you get is good acting, good music, good food, and an experience like no other in Seattle. Check it out.

Through Dec. 20 at Nordo’s Culinarium, 109 S. Main St., Seattle, (www.cafenordo.com or 1 800 838-3006).

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