Pacific Theatre, until June 8th
My Two Cents
Cake opens with Della, an experienced baker, explaining how her successful business relies on attention to detail when following recipes. The playwright, Bekah Brunstetter, could probably also make an impressive recipe for a thoughtful, engaging script. She has also measured her ingredients carefully: we believe in these characters, their relationships, and the main conflict is substantial. At the same time she has added enough flair and excitement in the story that we’re not entirely sure what will crop up next.
Della has to deal with a crisis of faith around gay rights, and Pacific Theatre's production does a lovely job of making liberal and conservative characters all feel sympathetic and flawed. There are no inexplicable changes of heart or demonic antagonists in this play, which gives the viewer more chances to connect with perspectives they might not often consider in real life. While relationships and belief systems in this play are explored with thoughtful respect, the story's heavy moments are balanced with naturally comic moments. I appreciated how all four actors felt consistently sincere and vulnerable through moments of extreme emotion and in silly quirks.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t commend the pastel world created for the cake shop. Pacific Theatre is already such an immersive space, and it was easy to slip into Della’s comfortable existence with the soothing hues and shapes around us. All the cues and technical details flowed with polished ease that allowed us to enjoy the story thoroughly. Even the ending of the play felt like a well-made dessert: enough flavour and substance to keep the audience thinking, but satisfying and sweet enough that we went home pleased. Indulge in Cake! You’ll be glad that you did.