Marion Shortt as Queenie, Matt Halliday as Paul’s Porridge, Rita Stone as Black Velvet Chocolate, Ben Van Lier as Carlito’s Cornchips and Michelle Blundell as Wasabi Punch!

Awesome Food is excited to announce that its eleventh micro-grant of $1,000 has been awarded to Mark Prebble and Marion Shortt of The Pantry Shelf, a satirical play revealing the micro-society of branded egos living in your pantry. The production runs from August 16-25 at The Basement Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand.  This is Awesome Food’s second international grant and first grant in New Zealand.

Mark Prebble and Marion Shortt are better known as Team M&M, the husband and wife  pair behind The Pantry Shelf. They describe the production as “a satirical comedy where all the characters are food products. It explores branding, genetic engineering and consumerism, but mostly it’s a love triangle between a rebellious muesli bar, a shy bag of porridge and a sexy block of dark chocolate.”

Ben Van Lier as Carlito Cornchips & Michelle Blundell as Wasabi Punch!

The Pantry Shelf premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010, receiving rave reviews. It also was awarded the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) award for Sustainable Production at the Fringe, given to a production whose themes and presentation promote eco-friendly and sustainable practices. Following their successful run in Scotland, Team M&M took the show to London for two performances at Leicester Square Theater Basement before returning home to New Zealand.

The cast is made up of five actors playing thirteen food products, including Carlito Corn Chips, Paul’s Porridge, Black Velvet Chocolate, Wasabi Punch! and of course, Queenie the Quinoa, Date and Bark Bar. Actress Rita Stone, who portrays Black Velvet Chocolate, Genetically-Engineered-Organic Tomato, and Winter Soup shared that the reaction so far has been stellar: “Audiences have laughed out loud at the continual roll of witty one liners, double entendres and satirical jibes. We’ve received encores, and our first review has confirmed its success as a well balanced production of entertainment and political statement.”

Matt Halliday as Paul’s Porridge & Marion Shortt as Queenie The Quinoa, Date & Bark Bar

Shortt shared that “the audiences particularly love the costumes” which the grant from Awesome Food helped to fund. The production also received a generous grant from the Auckland City Council, which assisted with the costs of theatre rental, radio ads, lighting design and rehearsal space. Team M&M also ran an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to cover advertising and set production costs.

What’s next for The Pantry Shelf? The production will be filmed and clips will be released online. Team M&M are also hoping to tour the production, both around New Zealand and internationally, eventually taking it back to Edinburgh. The Pantry Shelf has also just been nominated for Best New Zealand Play by the SWANZ awards, which are organised by The New Zealand Writers Guild.

For more information The Pantry Shelf, and Team M&M, check our their website.

–Photos courtesy of Rosabel Tan.