This sold-out event at the Festival Theatre certainly felt as familiar and intimate as dinner with old friends, with food, wine, great conversation and many laughs.
The stage was set beautifully as an open-plan kitchen and lounge where Crabb – political commentator, author and host of ABC’s Kitchen Cabinet – received her guests. For 90 minutes they casually chatted away over food preparations and a few South Australian sparkling reds.
Fans of Kitchen Cabinet, accurately described as “Australia’s only home-invasion-based political cooking show”, will appreciate Crabb’s relaxed and witty manner. Her quick wit and ability to ask the “big questions” with a friendly smile and a slice of dessert gives audiences a unique insight into the politicians who so often invade our lives in staged-managed appearances.
Current host of ABC’s 7:30, Leigh Sales, was first to arrive for this live show, getting in a sneaky show-tune on the piano before Crabb took to the stage. As the only interstate guest, Sales graciously took on the chin several Queensland-based digs.
Wonderfully warm and funny, she was the best friend who felt comfortable enough to refill glasses and hand around platters of food. The hilarious conversation between Sales and Crabb was a reminder that the powerhouse of political reporting in this country is in excellent hands.
Winner of the second series of television cooking show MasterChef, Adam Liaw, arrived soon after. Invited as “the only guest who can actually cook”, he whipped up “fancy fish finger sandwiches”, complete with cooking tips and an insight into his journey from being Walt Disney’s lawyer to a food broadcaster and cookbook writer.
While Liaw was busy in the kitchen, politicians Christopher Pyne and Nick Xenophon arrived with their “mystery desserts” which would later decide the fate of the seat of Sturt.
Regardless of your feelings about Pyne’s politics, the federal Industry Minister and current member for Sturt proved highly engaging. His hilarious anecdotes and the one-liners that created a slight air of tension between he and Xenophon induced tears of laughter in this reviewer.
Crabb is in her own class as a host and interviewer. She seamlessly guided the evening’s conversation, with her knowledge, wit and gorgeous personality making it all appear effortless.
Audiences were promised “an evening of conversation, intrigue, fun, food, song and surprises”, and it more than fulfilled expectations. We left the theatre with sore stomach muscles from laughing and a serious case of the warm-fuzzies that came from enjoying a night of great conversation with friends.
An Evening with Annabel Crabb was performed for one night only at The Adelaide Festival Theatre as part of the Adelaide Fringe.