Having discovered the Great British Bake-Off when I tuned in by mistake looking for Downton Abbey, I now know that baking competitions can be surprisingly fascinating. Zeitgeist Stage takes the art of baking semi-seriously with Colleen Curran’s CAKEWALK (playing through March 19th). Director David Miller has a lively cast who excel at farce. In fact, there’s a spectacularly delicious “banana peel” moment which opens Act II—but don’t dawdle at intermission or you’ll miss it.
Victoria George is simply delightful as the sweet nun tempted by forbidden fruit. She has entered the bake off so she can use the prize money to send an elderly nun to Lourdes. Aina Adler gives a feisty, charismatic performance as her best friend and confidante but it’s Matt Fagerberg who takes the cake as the agile absent minded archeologist. (His character’s name alone makes him heaven sent).
Problem is, the play wanders into melodrama which slows the cooking time way down. The playwright mixes up conflict for two characters who are oil and water: Then she wants us to believe they can congeal despite the laws of physics. She attempts this twice but once you introduce racism, the play ceases to be funny. A farce about cut throat bakers has to have batter light enough to rise and stay airborne. They say some cooks purposely leave out an ingredient when they share a recipe. I’m afraid too many ingredients went into this overly layered cake.