Cam, Die With Me

Nov 1 2022 | By More

★★★★☆     Impressively spooky

Assembly Roxy: Sat 29 October 2022
Review by Thom Dibdin

Cam, Die With Me, upstairs at the Assembly Roxy for one performance only, is a horror spoof which takes a silly pun then riffs and stretches it out into a remarkably successful piece of comedy.

The original is, rather obviously, Come Dine With Me, the Channel 4 reality TV show where five wanna-be chefs host each other for a three course meal over a week, with the hope of winning £1,000. It’s great reality TV, with its casts of eccentric hosts and an acerbic voice over.

Our hosts the Scotts: Connor Dalby and Samuel Clarke. Pic: CDWM

In writer and director Mihalis Michailidis’ version, the naive young Cameron finds himself the unwilling guest of a group of hosts whose eccentricities teeter into the macabre – pirates, witches, vampires and an outrageous drag queen. No voice over, but a mysterious figure who everyone else says they can see, but is invisible to Cam.

It takes a while to warm up, with George Lewis Warwick as Cam dumped centre stage, kidnapped for who-knows-what reason by tonight’s hosts: Samuel Clarke’s dominating Joshua Scott, and Connor Dalby, all put-upon frazzle as his husband, Martin.


But thanks to Warwick’s strong and natural central performance any initial longueurs are quickly dispelled. Cam’s innocent protestations, combined with a decidedly dodgy number of body parts in the Scotts’ meal, easily turn it into the beginning of something altogether more interesting.

Matt Hosgood (Kylie Gender) and Mihalis Michailidis (Argos). Pic: CDWM

At first the arrival of the guests has the feeling of an elaborate fancy-dress Halloween party, thanks to Emily Cooke’s costumes. Michailidis is overbearing as pirate captain Argos; Pauline Kappmeyer and Alex Bloor as the gloriously – joyously even – poker-faced vampires Ilinca and Andrei Nicolescu; Matt Hosgood all big camp as drag queen Kylie Gender and Lauren Ross spilling over with splenetic anger as the witch, Esther.

Their various arrivals are handled in such a way as to give each the space to set out their initial back stories. As they tease out such details as how they got there and the time taken, it becomes increasingly clear that the dress isn’t as fancy as might have first been thought and the lines with reality as we know it become blurred.


There is a nice echo there between each arrival, too, which helps both the comedy and the spookiness of the whole piece, while building up and developing a tension between the various guests and their hosts.

Lauren Ross (Esther) and the Cam, Die With Me company/ Pic: CDWM.

The big reveal of the show – Cam’s reason for being there – is far from being immediately apparent. Only when each guest or couple gets to tell their own yarn over dinner do ideas begin to fall into place. And even then, nothing is quite clear.

As each guest gets a second chance to shine, Hosgood gives a particularly strong and emotional performance of an outsider drawn into a world full of jeopardy where they would rather not be.

splendidly dressed

Michailidis makes good use of the tiny stage upstairs at the Roxy, with Maria Alepidi’s simple but splendidly dressed Halloween set providing just enough hint of where this is all taking place for the various comings and goings to be natural – and enough space for Étáin Saoirse Sweeney’s musical numbers, ghoulishly choreographed by Johanna Padron.

The final twist, when it eventually arrives, is just a little too overplayed, and there will be few people who don’t recognise many of the ideas on offer. The former just needs a bit more work, and the latter is no bad thing, given the freshness of all around.

A well thought-through spoof, which is delivered with a pleasingly inventive flourish.

Running time: One hour and 10 minutes (no interval).
Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU
Saturday 29 October 2022
Evening: 7.30 pm (Roxy upstairs)
Run ended.

Twitter: @camdiewithme
Instagram: @camdiewithme

Wondering who might be on the menu tonight, Alex Bloor and Pauline Kappmeyer as the Nicolescus. Pic: CDWM

George Lewis Warwick as Cam (centre) and the Cam, Die With Me company. Pic: CDWM


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