Adelaide Fringe Review: The Grilling Season with Annabel Crabb

Kate Dyer reviews the world premiere show by Kitchen Cabinet writer and presenter, The Grilling Season with Annabel Crabb at Adelaide Fringe.

Seasoned political journalist Annabel Crabb takes the stage at the Flamingo at Gluttony with The Grilling Season, a tongue-in-cheek PowerPoint presentation that examines the overlap between government and grub, which is far more significant than one might expect.

Setting the satirical mood was Crabb’s daughter, Kate, who opened the show in Mum’s signature red specs, name-dropping Turnbull and Wong and generally giving Crabb the grilling she later directs at Latham, Carr, and ScoMo. The simple set, adorned with mid-century kitchen paraphernalia, is a cute backdrop for the menu of stories that follow.

Like a tray of finger food at cocktail hour, Crabb serves up bite-sized anecdotes cultivated over her 25-year career, with a generous helping garnered from her time as host of the ABC show Kitchen Cabinet. The narrative meanders through the peculiar eating habits of politicians, their unused kitchen appliances, and the candid moments caught on the campaign trail, all seasoned with a generous dose of humour. 

Sources and sauces aplenty, Crabb pokes a few celery sticks at the human side of those who navigate the corridors of power. A handy reference guide is provided to help us know what’s on and off the record, along with some recommendations on how to consume the emblematic Democracy Sausage.

However, despite the rich content, Crabb’s delivery appeared somewhat undercooked. Admissions via social media of completing the script merely a day before the premiere hinted at the clunky execution that followed. This lack of polish was a departure from the professionalism that fans of Crabb have come to expect. This aside, the warmth and familiarity she shares with her audience—peppered with personal shoutouts to family and friends—managed to keep the atmosphere buoyant. A few excerpts read from Don Dunstan’s Cookbook landed particularly well, clearly resonating with the audience’s palate.

While The Grilling Season may have benefited from a few more rehearsals to refine its delivery, the essence of Crabb’s charm remains intact. It’s a show that delivers more of a light grilling than a serious roasting, and earns 3 out of 5 stars. It’s a reminder that, like the perfect dish, timing and preparation are key.

Image credit: Kate Dyer

The Grilling Season with Annabel Crabb

until Sunday 17th of March

Flamingo at Gluttony

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