NY Review: 'The Great Pie Robbery…or, We Really Knead the Dough'

NY Review: 'The Great Pie Robbery…or, We Really Knead the Dough'

Playlight Theatre Company at Theatre 80 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival

By Marc Miller

August 14, 2012


Photo by Max Ruby
I'm going to sound like an awful grouch. "The Great Pie Robbery…or, We Really Knead the Dough" wants nothing more than to expose current audiences to 19th-century melodrama, that barnstorming tradition in which plots were simple, characters uncomplicated, and happy endings assured. But writer-director Ben Tostado, rather than affectionately spoofing the genre, just seems to be chortling at how stupid it was and how clueless audiences must have been to buy it. Further, by serving up cue cards to induce us to cheer the hero, hiss the villain, and awww at the virginal heroine, he doesn't trust us to produce a reaction that isn't manufactured.

At least it's kid-friendly and there are a few grace notes: resourceful costumes-on-a-budget (Lisa Renee Jordan), atmospheric lighting (Sam Gordon), and a bad guy (Mike Quirk) who knows how to wink and nudge an audience gently along rather than shout it down.

Presented by Playlight Theatre Company as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place, NYC, Aug. 13–24. Remaining performances: Wed., Aug. 15, 2 p.m.; Mon., Aug. 20, 2 p.m.; Tue., Aug. 21, 4:15 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 24, 5:15 p.m. (866) 468-7169 or www.fringenyc.org.


NY Review: 'The Great Pie Robbery…or, We Really Knead the Dough'

Playlight Theatre Company at Theatre 80 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival

By Marc Miller

August 14, 2012


PHOTO CREDIT
Max Ruby
I'm going to sound like an awful grouch. "The Great Pie Robbery…or, We Really Knead the Dough" wants nothing more than to expose current audiences to 19th-century melodrama, that barnstorming tradition in which plots were simple, characters uncomplicated, and happy endings assured. But writer-director Ben Tostado, rather than affectionately spoofing the genre, just seems to be chortling at how stupid it was and how clueless audiences must have been to buy it. Further, by serving up cue cards to induce us to cheer the hero, hiss the villain, and awww at the virginal heroine, he doesn't trust us to produce a reaction that isn't manufactured.

At least it's kid-friendly and there are a few grace notes: resourceful costumes-on-a-budget (Lisa Renee Jordan), atmospheric lighting (Sam Gordon), and a bad guy (Mike Quirk) who knows how to wink and nudge an audience gently along rather than shout it down.

Presented by Playlight Theatre Company as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place, NYC, Aug. 13–24. Remaining performances: Wed., Aug. 15, 2 p.m.; Mon., Aug. 20, 2 p.m.; Tue., Aug. 21, 4:15 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 24, 5:15 p.m. (866) 468-7169 or www.fringenyc.org.
 
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