The cheapest dinner and show in town

The cheapest dinner and show in town
Rhonda Dredge

The girls in spots are cavorting by the river near the Botanical Gardens for the benefit of the Comedy Festival and passers-by.

Diana Emry is performing each weekend in Carmengetta in Carmenatcha Corona Infused Disco BBQ.

She’s chosen a windswept barbecue by the Yarra next to Toilet Block 107 as her stage.

Cougar, as she calls herself, is a desperado divorcee who has remade herself as a cooking show host.

She’s bringing the riverbank alive with her “dinner and show” combo of beer-battered fish and chips and arias from Carmen.

In an outfit of cougar spots, she plays the part of an ex-trophy wife down on her luck and flirts with males in the audience.

At the heart is a lie … not to be revealed until the last minute by her assistant and cook.

Diana Emry has true comic genius. She was an opera singer in another life, was in Strictly Ballroom and in shows with Max Gillies and Eddy Perfect.

She throws herself into the part with abandon and mercilessly uses her audience in her off-colour gags.

Those brave enough to have booked into this gig have had countless texts and emails, due to the inclement weather.

At one stage Diana was sitting in her car on Alexander Avenue checking out the cold fronts. 

The show was due to open on Good Friday and she was on weather watch over one of the wettest Easters on record.


Omg. I’m sitting here in the car at the Yarra – not looking good cougars. I will text you at 4pm if it looks like the rain will hold off for us – however we need an hour to set up. Text you at 4 if it’s a no show.


The show finally opened on Easter Sunday and the savings on venue hire looked like they’d paid off.

“I’m a baby boomer. Forgive me! Forgive me!” she cried, as she threw herself into various key-swapping, divorcee, and bad mummy jokes.

The point was that she was out to prove that she was a someone! She was even good friends with Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

“Sally has good ideas,” Diana said, confiding with her audience. “Re-ignite the Yarra. Who better than moi? I think every woman should carry a blow torch. I had the ingenious idea to throw prosecco on the barbie and set it alight.” Which she does!

This is a generous performance with lots of laughs and songs and even the fish and chips are good.

Diana Emry, in Carmengetta in Carmenatcha Corona Infused Disco BBQ, Toilet Block 107, Alexandria Avenue, until April 23.

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