El Diablo to serve up the laughs

The cast of El Diablo, which will perform at the Gippsland Performing Arts Centre tonight. Photo: Supplied


AFTER 12 months touring, a successful Melbourne season, and winning a host of awards, the locally grown comedy El Diablo – A Comedy Feast hits the Gippsland Performing Arts Centre tonight (Friday) for a one-off encore show.

The Gippsland based ensemble, led by writer/director Phillip Mayer, are excited to return home and finish the year in front of a local audience.

“We’ve been on the road, all around the state, performing in amazing theatres and to new audiences, but it’s always a thrill to bring a great show back to our supportive home crowd” Mr Mayer said.

Set in a high-class restaurant, the comedy centres on an ordinary couple experiencing fine dining for the first time.

“This is fish out of water, clash of cultures comedy, sending up the whole pretentious foodie thing, and shining a light on just how ridiculous gourmet dining is. It’s so much fun throwing normal people into this alien world where pompous, overblown people look down on them, as if they don’t belong. It’s something everyone can relate to, feeling excluded and judged,” Mr Mayer said.

When an average couple finally get a booking at the ritzy, popular five-star El Diablo Restaurant, they look forward to hobnobbing with celebrities and wealthy social elites, but their preconceptions are soon shattered, as their evening turns pear-shaped upon the arrival of so-called upper-crust couple Ian and Siobhan.

“It’s a square peg in a round hole situation, where everyday people meet pretentious entitlement, and the ensuing craziness is so much fun,” Mr Mayer said.

The script was inspired by an article during COVID lockdowns, where people were complaining about not being able to go to expensive restaurants.

“The entitlement of some people, with zero consideration for others who were doing it hard, suffering without much support, was amazing, so we thought we’d explore that sense of privilege,” Mr Mayer said.

“Its observational comedy with a big helping of farce. We’ve had audiences in stitches watching the train wreck unfold, and the awards are always nice”.

The hilarious show, which is part satire with a twist of dark humour, won multiple best production, best comedy, design, ensemble and acting awards, and also won high praise from adjudicators and critics.

“The reviews were very favourable, but the audiences are the real judges. The laughs decide if its good or not. There’s a bit of Fawlty Towers, Sex in the City and The Castle too,” Mr Mayer said.

“It’s a great night of laughs and tickets are selling fast, which is fantastic to have the local support”.

El Diablo is an entertaining show with outrageous characters and some insightful messages. The company has previously had hits at the Melbourne Comedy Festival with shows including Couples! and Table 17, and the award-winning Bogan Shakespeare which will return to MICF in 2023.

“The ensemble is brilliant. They’ve built a highly entertaining piece of relatable comedy, and it’s a treat for them to play these people and it’s a treat for audiences,” Mr Mayer said.

El Diablo is showing at Gippsland Performing Arts Centre tonight (Friday, December 9) at 7:30pm.

Tickets are available online at latrobe.vic.gov.au/gpac/events/El_Diablo, or by calling the Box Office on 5176 3333.