Arts & Entertainment
Eastpointe Theater Cooks Up Laughs In 'Kitchen' Comedy
By Dana Casadei
Originally printed 9/19/2013 (Issue 2138 - Between The Lines News)
The Food Network has chefs that have become household names and ones that have kitchens anyone would be envious of. They get big budgets, and some probably have even bigger egos. Then there's cable access cooking shows. The budgets are smaller, there are fewer viewers (albeit just as loyal ones), and in "The Kitchen Witches," a show with two hosts - not something many Food Network stars would willingly agree to. But neither did these "witches."
As the 90 minute show at Broadway Onstage Live Theatre begins, Stephen (John Arden McClure) tries to get the audience ready for the last episode of "Baking with Babcha," Dolly Biddle's (Olivia Wickline) latest adventure in cable access cooking. We applaud, thanks to the lighting up "applause" sign on the wall, as Dolly comes out, dressed like the matchmaker from "Fiddler On The Roof." Her disdain for a woman named Isobel Lomax (Donna Disante) is established early. Let's just say the feeling is mutual. This is what can happen when you fight over a boy, ladies and gents: 30-plus years of hate over whom he really loved. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
After what can probably go down as the worst last episode of a cooking show ever, and a very important phone call, the duo must work together on a new type of cooking show - one where "Jerry Springer meets Martha Stewart." The studios of Cable Access Channel 4 in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada will never be the same again.
What follows in Caroline Smith's script is a lot of zingers, a lot of heart, one huge secret, and, obviously, cooking.
Before the first rehearsal Stephen says that "It's gonna be a bumpy ride." He was talking about "The Kitchen Witches" cooking show, but he might as well have been talking about the show as a whole. There were some moments that didn't run smoothly, cues that felt missed, and lines that were botched.
McClure's movements are slightly stiff and awkward throughout the show; I'm not sure if that's him or supposed to be a character trait. He does have a great voice, though, especially when he's announcing that week's sponsors. Wickline and Disante bounce well off of each other, shooting back line after line of witty banter. Both women are hilarious to watch; with their moments together more memorable than when they are alone.
While the characters differ in many ways, they both know how to lay on the guilt trip like nobody's business, and Wickline and Disante do it with gusto.
Director Dennis Wickline's set design works well for the show, with a functioning stove and refrigerator, both of which are for sale at the end of the production. It is ironic, though, that out of the four framed photos of famous chefs that hang on the back wall none of them were women.
This is a show that works wonders in a smaller venue, mainly because the audience is the "live audience" for the cooking shows unfolding before them. There's no wall between the two.
'The Kitchen Witches'
Broadway Onstage Live Theatre, 21517 Kelly Road, Eastpointe. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Oct. 12. 90 minutes. $18. 586-771-6333. http://www.Broadwayonstage.com