27 September 2007


CakeMalthouse Theatre and Vitalstatistix
27 September 2007
Tower Theatre, CUB Malthouse

There are two types of people in this world. Those who will devour a cake the moment they have it in their hands and those who will keep the cake and look at the cake and save the cake. Cake satisfies those who want instant gratification and those who like to savour the details.

Cake was developed through Vitalstatistix’s commission program. Vitals are based in Adelaide and are Australia’s only full time women’s theatre company. Having two years to perfect the recipe has created an original powerful, atmospheric and engaging production. The ingredients of dancer, performer, designer and musician can all be tasted, but none dominate the result.

The final Cake is scrumptious. When you think it’s just going to be filled with cheap cream and cake jokes, you find new layers of dark ganache, light and crisp meringue, bitter-sweet marzipan, intoxicating brandy soaked apricots and finally the sobering piece of cardboard reality at the bottom.

Nostalgic, yet complex, it’s about desire, emptiness and distraction and our need to fill our lives and our selves with something that’s going to satisfy.

The text is poetic and heightened, but anything else would seem wrong in their world. It’s balanced with songs and music and cake puns that are as cheap, but irresistible as a chocolate doughnut. Of course a torte would retort!

Astrid Pill’s performance is fluid and free, but always intricately controlled. She captures the audience and never lets them go. Zoe Barry supports musically and offers a continual and changing reflection of Astrid. Barry’s composition is the raspberry coulis and king island cream to Astrid’s mud cake.

And there are cake puns, cake metaphors, cake references and real cakes. Some of the audience even get given cake. Some ate them instantly, but most held them for the whole show. You can (and should) eat the cake.

If you don’t get a snack, just enjoy the vicarious journey from lamingtons to strawberry and walnut strudel. Even those hideous South Australian frog cakes get a mention. If you’ve never had one, they are real and green and really as nasty as they sound.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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