From decadent to bittersweet, “Cake” comes in many comic flavors

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Millibo Art Theatre celebrates its 16th birthday with five new short comedies by local playwrights, each inspired by the word “cake”:

Slice by Jeff Harms

“Maybe I should retire Tennessee Williams. He’s dead; he won’t mind.”

An aging actress and her best friend sit backstage, swapping jokes and pondering their legacy.

Jane Fromme deftly embodies the melancholy of a Blanche DuBois, blending the ego and fear that comes with knowing her most desirable days have passed. Hannah Rockey counters with loving but salty realism. It’s a bold, mature choice to open the night.

Cake Retake by Lauren and Mark Arnest

“You think you can invite my girl in, make moves on her, serve her cake?”

A birthday wish gone awry leads to farce, as love-struck characters chase each other around the room.

Cyndi Parr makes great faces as Bree, whose unrequited crush gets trampled mercilessly. Monica Allred enters with curves and confidence, then peels back layers of complexity as the lusted-after Darcy. The script offers lots of laughs, with a delightful kicker.

MacArthur Park by Warren Epstein

“Someone left the cake out in the rain!!!”

The strangest lyric in pop music inspires a deliciously bonkers sketch, in which a married couple upends their lives for one more taste of cake.

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Warren Epstein and Amy Brooks ground the absurdity with their easy chemistry. They’re in this together, no matter where it goes. By far the funniest play of the night.

Loyalty Cake by Lauren and Mark Arnest

“If she insists on treating you like a dog, let her know that some dogs bite.”

Fundraisers wait in the lobby of a wealthy donor, discussing her infamous, degrading tactics to select her next pet charity.

Pedro Leos steals laughs as a snooty museum fundraiser. The play has fun picking at the pecking order in non-profits (“She thought birds were overrated”) and the odd politics of white-collar begging.

The Temp by Steve Emily

“I’m sorry that you died wearing khakis and a pair of Skechers.”

An office birthday gets derailed by the sudden death of a temp.

Nathaniel Bourn cracks a few choice barbs about the deceased, capturing that uniquely selfish blend of office slacker. This black comedy left us slightly unsettled, but isn’t that how most birthday parties end?

Additional Notes:

Why yes, the pre-show soundtrack does feature songs by Cake.

Even as some plays dip into darkness, the hosts keep the mood celebratory. Their hilarious transitions riff on Marie Antoinette, disco and cooking shows.

Treat yourself to a slice of cake at intermission. Jim and Birgitta might bake better than they clown… and they’re exceptional clowns.

“Cake” contains occasional profanity, toilet humor and sexual references.

Millibo Art Theatre
1626 S Tejon St
Box Office: (719) 465-6321

Playing February 8 – 24, 2018 (buy tickets)
Admission: $25 general; $18 Thursdays
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

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