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Trash Cuisine

From 28 critic and 0 member reviews

About the show

Belarus Free Theatre serves up food, music, dance and Shakespeare as they share true stories from inmates, executioners, lawyers and families of the executed. More…

'Trash Cuisine' is a play about institutionalized violence and, in particular, about the ability of society, a group or an individual to take the life of another. Narrated by a chef, the play draws on food preparation and consumption, as well as a variety of other devices including music, movement, stand-up, and the works of William Shakespeare, to emphasize the local flavors of violence, as well as humanity's capacity for endurance, life and hope.

New York Theatre Review

"A beautiful exploration of human craving and excess; the desire to indulge our mouths not so different from the urge to whet our aggression...Belarus Free Theatre is able to present these human tragedies without lecturing and without misery, rather they play to several of our senses as a way of engaging us to think about what these horrors mean and how they could ever happen, as opposed to merely pushing them in our face." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Those looking for something raw, unique, and devastating in a theater experience will find it in 'Trash Cuisine.' An unnerving depiction of the torture and execution of political prisoners,'Trash Cuisine' is uncomfortable to watch...And the piece deserves those unsettling feelings and the literal sickness you may experience." Full Review

On Stage Blog

"Belarus Free Theatre delivers a knockout punch with its monumental 'Trash Cuisine,' an amorphous dedication to capital punishment...expertly crafted, magnificent work...While 'Trash Cuisine' skirts genuinely close to perfection, there are a few minute missteps, but these errata barely cloud the production's splendor." Full Review

NY Theater Now

"While there are moments where the specificity of this juxtaposition - between delicacy and degradation, daily and deadly - is lost a bit for the sake of a bigger impression - of isolation, willful ignorance - it all is still unnerving. It is a visceral, striking chord, as violence and this same sort of strange irony is not unfamiliar to our own country..." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A multicourse banquet of brutality that is calculated to make you wonder if humanity is really worth the name. Prepare to leave the theatre thoroughly shaken...It is a tribute to this troupe's total commitment and almost neoclassical discipline that "Trash Cuisine" exerts it viselike grip for the vast majority of its running time. It's a profoundly clarifying experience, cutting through the hysteria that so often infects our national conversation. We are made to stare into the face of authen... Full Review


"The show thrillingly raises important questions about the modern state of capital punishment through a well-choreographed barrage of sights, sounds, and smells...This is not theater for the faint of heart. If 'Trash Cuisine' is ever presented at one of our nation's many sensitive liberal arts colleges, it will almost certainly come with a trigger warning. Still, this unique and rigorous political theater is not to be missed." Full Review

The New York Times

"As sensually enveloping as 'Trash Cuisine' often is, its theatrical technique and emotional earnestness aren’t quite compelling enough to overcome the more rational objections it inspires. But if connecting thematic dots here creates an unduly tangled web, the show can be highly effective scene by scene. And it’s hard not to admire its pure theatrical imagination." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"A reminder of the complacency of all of us privileged enough to live in democracies but not angry enough to fight for one, it’s harder to swallow when the show draws an amalgam between the cruelty inflicted on a songbird and the murder of Tutsi children. As any marksman knows, precision is everything; with its sights more on target, 'Trash Cuisine’s' bullet would be all the more deadly." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Belarus Free Theater seems to be using their bodies as instruments of social protest. If they are suffering, who is suffering with them? When they take on the suffering of others, they become a vessel for sorrow. It is somehow both inclusive and removed. Somehow, the shockwaves don’t seem to reverberate." Full Review

One Stop Arts

for a previous production "That familiar political vitriol is combined with Shakespeare, food, singing and taiko drumming – and the result is a truly stunning and engaging piece of powerful, emotive political theatre that fires the soul. This is what they always had the potential to achieve, and they've now grasped it with both hands...This show combines everything that made BFT great, adds some new spice, and whirls it into a stew that already has London humming. An unequivocal recommendation." Full Review

Fourthwall Magazine

for a previous production "Despite the crisp coolness of the white set, the simplicity of the monochrome costumes, the elegance of the live music and the overall geniality and humour of the performers, there is no escaping the fact that Trash Cuisine is the most dangerous, powerful piece at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe...This is theatre at its most essential, theatre that not only tells us the story of our existence, but is also vitally important political theatre with punch – and a dash of blood." Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "A kitchen cabaret of capital punishment, an executioner's song, a dance of death and an explosion of anger, flour and chopped onions...There are nine actors in a production by Nicolai Khalezin and Natalia Kaliada that is banned in their home country, and achieves the rare, and today, unfashionable, distinction of combining dissident fury with exceptional theatrical imagery and eloquence." Full Review

The Public Reviews

for a previous production "Every moment in the piece is memorable and harrowing, from a bird being decapitated to the characterisation of a stand-up comic doing an impression routine of methods of capital punishment. 'Trash Cuisine' is a powerful piece of theatre that will move you to tears and urge you to think. An unusual and penetrating theatrical event – catch it while you can." Full Review

The Arts Desk

for a previous production "Ninety minutes of torture was on the menu, and I'll admit to feeling some trepidation. But this show - and 'show' is the right word - turns out to be a revelation...Key to the success of 'Trash Cuisine' is music. Lyrical, even gentle, it provides a perfect counter to the often gruesome facts and, together with the beautiful movement, sends us out reaching, not for the sick bowl, but for a pen to sign BFT's petition against capital punishment." Full Review

Mildly Bitter's Musings

for a previous production "Suddenly it stopped being theater and started to become its own form of torture. 'Trash Cuisine' oscillates between promulgating powerful images through physical theater and aggressively underlining their political points with the use of sound and smells. This is theater that actually reaches out from the stage to hit you in the face. Subtle it is not. But it is political theater that remains both elegant and evocative." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "The purpose of the show is to remind us that we live in a world where conspicuous consumption co-exists with state torture...The severity of the show's content, however, is counterpointed by the grace, athleticism and skill of its performers and by the sweetness of accompanying music. Once again, Belarus Free Theatre prove their capacity to stir our consciences through their sensuous theatricality." Full Review

British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "This piece is fiercely disciplined and, as a result, continually hits its chosen targets with pinpoint accuracy...Agitprop has rarely seemed more palatable or effective than this powerfully moving piece of political theatre. It isn't always comfortable to watch but anyone who believes in freedom of speech and the civilisation of society will find this production deeply moving." Full Review

The Independent (UK)

for a previous production "Roll up for a whole new concept of a cookery show with a special menu of fried murderer, stoned adulteress, tortured terrorist and, the ever popular old favourite, the slaughter of the innocents...Only the banished and itinerant Belarus Free Theatre could invent so lyrical and sardonic a hymn to the glories of death...What the Belarus does so well, in fact, is transform the documentary evidence into spellbinding theatrical imagery." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

for a previous production "Devised with great inventiveness, performed with constant dynamism and argued with a ruthless integrity, 'Trash Cuisine’s' few flaws are easily forgiven. It’s a stomach turning indictment of capital punishment that seems to make the eyes of God burn fiercer on the world." Full Review

Three Weeks Edinburgh

for a previous production "It is obvious that ‘Trash Cuisine’ is an excellent piece of physical theatre. Yet is it difficult to view it solely in this light. The choreography is stunning and well executed, if just occasionally confusing. I could not take my eyes from the stage...The show has an emotional intensity and truth which one just cannot help but be affected by." Full Review

Broadway Baby

for a previous production "A post-modernist and overtly political production...Though criticism seems impertinent, it must be admitted the last quarter of an hour tended to drag and some sections seemed to misfire. Nonetheless, the performance did end on a high note...Aesthetically and politically brilliant, it will undoubtedly change the way to think about food. Or human rights, rather." Full Review

Harry Mottram

for a previous production "Brave, bleak and brilliantly inventive, "Trash Cuisine" serves up some unpalatable truths about the dark motivations behind the horrors of torture and capital punishment in our modern society. The artists are both brutal and kind in their telling...'Trash Cuisine' is not easy viewing, but it is definitely worthwhile viewing, and the Belarus Free Theatre are without doubt a valuable and uniquely brilliant company worth watching." Full Review

The Telegraph (UK)

for a previous production "The show blends dark fantasy and choreographed movement with sober documentary...This is a hard show to sit through, but its mixture of righteous anger and at times inspired theatrical imagination make 'Trash Cuisine' an urgent and unforgettable experience." Full Review

Partially Obstructed View

for a previous production "The show is brutal and disturbing...and this is a physically talented and fearless company...There's power in this show, but I'm not sure how much of it comes from what the company have done, and how much is the terrifying source material. You'll cry, but mainly because you'll be covered in onions." Full Review

Time Out London

for a previous production "When it works, it’s mesmerically upsetting...But the show lacks focus, with some sections totally misfiring, while the humour feels forced. And the exact overall intent is a little hazy...'Trash Cuisine’ is a somewhat arbitrary, oddly un-immediate parade of atrocities from the last 40 years, with no clear message beyond offering an incomplete reflection of humanity at its worst...It’s a fierce and fascinating evening, but a spot more dramaturgy wouldn’t go amiss." Full Review

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