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Published on April 24, 2024
Philadelphia's 'The Worst Café in the World' Blends Dinner With Surprise Theatrical PerformancesSource: Tiny Dynamite

Brace yourselves, Philly foodies and theater buffs—it's time to devour a dish of drama at "The Worst Café in the World." This unique dining experience mashes up your typical café ambiance with on-the-spot theatrical performances delivered straight to your table. "It is theater as a restaurant," says Kathryn 'KC' MacMillan, the brains behind this interactive feast for the senses and artistic director of Tiny Dynamite.

Forget the standard fare; here, the menu boasts a buffet of thespian thrills ranging from skits to sight gags, but don't expect the same show twice because every night's a surprise, with a menu too vast to ever see the same performance twice, and as MacMillan told Billy Penn, “Every single night will be different, depending on what you order.” Think of it like a culinary Choose Your Own Adventure—you decide the play, you set the stage, creating an unpredictably curated experience that's as varied as Philly's own cultural smorgasbord.

Spoiler alert: not every choice is for the faint of heart. For example, holler for a Dark and Stormy and prepare for a tempest to overtake the café; or if you opt for an Earl Gray tea, you'll be greeted with a commentary in a posh British accent. Delivering these concoctions are three actors doubling as wait staff, churning out performances with each order—and let's just say, sending over "The Confrontation" dish to a neighboring table might just stir up more than applause. Adding to the magic is stage manager Olivia Hershey, who directs this delicious chaos, ensuring every "order" is perfectly presented to audience-patrons.

But this isn't just rigmarole for chuckles; the café is a testament to MacMillan's innovative theater vision, seen also in her work with Inis Nua Theatre Co., which specializes in plays from the British Isles. MacMillan, who dished out details in interviews to Billy Penn, has joined forces with Zoe Seaton of Ireland's Big Telly Theatre Company to brew up this interactive escapade—blurring the lines between audience and performer, between eateries and auditoriums. The result? A rendezvous of quirky entertainment and dining that's purely Philadelphia.

So if you're on the prowl for an evening that's as eccentric as it is enthralling, "The Worst Café in the World," running April 24-May 5 at Poth Brewery, may just be your ticket to culinary and creative nirvana, the event itself is an amalgamation of MacMillan's dual roles of serving up theater both conventional and atypical, all while challenging the norms of passive spectatorship. All this, and the promise of a beverage and a snack with your ticket. To those craving the unconventional, bon appétit—or perhaps, break a leg?