Dinner for One

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Dinner for One is a two-hander comedy sketch by Lauri Wylie (1880–1951)[1].

Also known as The 90th Birthday or Der 90. Geburtstag in German.

The original text

A skit about the 90th birthday of elderly upper-class Englishwoman Miss Sophie, who hosts a dinner every year for her close friends Mr Pommeroy, Mr Winterbottom, Sir Toby and Admiral von Schneider to celebrate the occasion. Since they are no longer alive, so butler James makes his way around the table, impersonating each of the guests in turn, participating in each toast of the four-course dinner.

Originally written in the 1920s and performed on the stage by the author as a sketch in his London stage revue called En Ville Ce Soir in 1934.

Translations and adaptations

A performance of the piece, featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden, was filmed in its original English by the German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)in 1963. In this form the short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.) It is regularly shown on New Year's Eve in many countries, including South Africa.

In 2023, the text was translated Afrikaans as Sopper vir Een by Frans Swart and adapted for the stage by him as a spoof on the original play, with the male and female performers switching roles.

Performance history in South Africa

2002: Performed in English by Bob Law and Noel Morgan as part of a fund-raiser drive for the Laubscher Park Psycho Geriatic Home in Port Elizabeth, on 12 April.

2023: Both Dinner for One and Sopper vir Een produced as two hander by Lefra Produksies, directed by Frans Swart with Elma Potgieter and Justin Strydom. After a preview at the Ken Gampu Theatre (the Springs Civic Theatre) on 31 March 31, the piece opened at the at the Oppiwater Arts Festival (April 11 to 15), then went on tour to a number of local theatres in the Gauteng region, including the Pierneef Theatre, the Roodepoort Theatre (6-7 July) and the Atterbury Theatre.

2024: Dinner for One and Sopper vir Een presented by Lefra Productions at the Theatre of Marcellus at Emperor's Palace, opening on 19 April.




Lefra Produksies Nuusbrief/Newsletter, 5 June, 2023.


'Entertainment raised funds for Laubscher", Hello-o-o Echo, Vol X no 4, June 2002, The Echo Foundation[2]

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