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‘Cake:’ Theatre Review

Throughout the past year, theatre company Theatre Unleashed (TU) has presented an engaging, thought-provoking, and extraordinarily relevant season of theatre to the audiences of Los Angles.  With incredible shows like Boy Gets Girl, Ligature Marks, and Sleeping Around (Hollywood Fringe 2015), the company tackled gender politics and normative societal dynamics head on, providing a reminder of the ingrained issues that exist between men and women, while also inciting a meaningful dialogue about why change is imminently necessary.  With this stunning and mature season of theatre under its belt, Theatre Unleased has launched their 2015-2016 Main Stage season with a bit of icing on the “cake,” serving audiences with a sweet and humorous helping of Cake, a world premiere comedy by Wendy Gough Soroka under the direction of Lisa K Wyatt.  Bringing together a stellar ensemble of characters set within a Love Actually-style relational construct, the proof is in the pudding . . . er . . . batter that TU’s Cake is a light and enjoyable way to transition into the company’s new season.

Originally written by Soroka as a series of scenes in the Theatre Unleashed Writer’s Workshop, Cake finds its form with its incredibly dynamic and relatable characters.  Showcasing men and women at various stages of life – college, parenthood, career, and beyond – the play focuses on our ability to be fulfilled, to accomplish our goals, to find companionship, and to simply be understood.  Greater than these aforementioned destinations, though, is the play’s focus on our journey to reach those milestones and the connections that we make in order to cope, survive, and, hopefully, not strangle each other in the process.  From two college students lost in their goal-oriented paths to a new mother and her career-minded best friend noting that the grass is always greener, the audience is treated to a slice-of-life examination of what makes them tick, how they get by each passing day, and what makes it all worth it.  Admirably, with complex and intelligent female characters layered throughout Cake, Theatre Unleashed is smartly continuing its mission to push gender politics forward with a production that isn’t afraid to put women at the forefront.

As always, the cast of Theatre Unleashed’s production has a firm grasp of the material and is truly delightful to watch as they work together to bring Soroka’s script to life.  With many notable TU players returning for the show, including Courtney Sara Bell (Sleeping Around), Liz Fenning (Ligature Marks), Sammi Lappin (Sleeping Around, Boy Gets Girl), and Jim Martyka (Sleeping Around, Boy Gets Girl), it’s clear that the performers find a positive and fulfilling creative outlet in working with the company, which is evidenced by their ease and comfortability on stage and within one another.  Likewise, the newcomers to the Theatre Unleashed banner, including Cyanne McClairian and Steve Julian (Admittedly, the public radio nerd in me may have geeked out just a bit.), provide incredible performances that are perfectly and seamlessly at home with the oft-returning cast of players.  Clearly, Theatre Unleased is a den of creative positivity that performers throughout the LA area would do well to join!

For audiences in need of a more lighthearted and endearing evening of theatre, Cake is the perfect palate cleanser.  Act fast, though, as the show has only 3 more performances: this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $20 each and are available online or at the door. Patrons may also “Pay What You Want” for tickets with a $5 donation to the Camp Del Corazon. Please note that the theatre is located upstairs, and, unfortunately, it is not wheelchair accessible. Be sure to visit the Theatre Unleashed website for further details.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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