Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Porn.Cake , Malthouse, April 25, 2011

Malthouse Theatre: Porn.Cake
  • Kate Herbert
  • From: Herald Sun
  • April 25, 2011 12:00AM


Christen O'Leary and Travis McMahon star in Porn.Cake at Malthouse Theatre. Source: Herald Sun 

VANESSA Bates' script for Porn.Cake feels unfinished and peculiarly unsatisfying.  It craves savage editing and better dramaturgy to address its lack of structure or clear intention.

Not so the cacophony of elaborate cakes used both as edible props and as a delectable part of Christina Smith's sleek set design.

An entire wall of glass display cabinets houses 54 (I counted) glorious gateaux: iced, glazed or swathed in chocolate and fruit. It is enough to send you into insulin shock.

Pamela Rabe directs this light-as-a-sponge comedy and a capable cast (Heather Bolton, Luke Elliot, Travis McMahon and Christen O'Leary) works hard to give depth to a thin script.

The non-linear narrative deals with two fortysomething couples, confused and dissatisfied with their lives and partners. Their individual monologues are the most effective components, providing simple storytelling about memories and happier moments.

Between the monologues, the women try to stimulate their partners' interest and senses by serving exotic cakes. But the men, frustratingly, are preoccupied with phone texting.

The cake-eating scene is repeated by each pair, then deconstructed, until it is a garbled, comical collection of fragments and colliding words.  Unfortunately, this abstracted repetition looks like an acting exercise.

The characters are undeveloped, relationships are shallow, the writer's intention is unclear and the separate layers do not jell. It is form over substance.

PORN.CAKE, Beckett Theatre at Malthouse Theatre, until May 8, 2011

Star rating: ** 1/2

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