THEATER REVIEW: “The Cake” @ Barrington Stage Company [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Barbara Walldinger
Directions for a perfect production of The Cake: start with a brilliant, sensitive and brave playwright (Bekah Brunstetter), add a director who understands the playwright’s message and translates it beautifully from page to stage (Jennifer Chambers), throw in a multi-talented actress who can embody the inner life of a baker in her every look, word, or movement while frosting a cake (Debra Jo Rupp, and mix in a surprisingly versatile set (designed by Tim Mackabee) and a terrific ensemble cast.
It becomes clear early on that this Barrington Stage Company offering is not a typical summer production limited by a short rehearsal process. The Cake has had a chance to find its legs beginning with the world premiere at the Echo Theater in Los Angeles (also directed by Chambers), with subsequent productions at the La Jolla Playhouse and the Alley Theatre in Houston; an upcoming run is slated for the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City in March, 2019.
Brunstetter is not a newcomer to the theater nor to television, where she writes for Starz’s American Gods and is a writer/producer for NBC’s hit series This is Us. Rupp, a BSC Associate Artist, is not new to this play, having won L.A. Stage Ovation and L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards for her role as Della. The Cake arrives at Barrington Stage Company with a long and well-deserved pedigree.