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Porn. Cake reviewed

Production: SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod St, Kings Cross, July 2012

Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 June 2012

PLAYWRIGHT Vanessa Bates places two long-term couples – four individuals, really – on a knife-edge. They”re all approaching 40 and they”ve all “arrived”. They”re gainfully employed and middling comfortably off. But no one likes where they are, what they”ve become and where they are heading.

These people – Generation X typicals, we”re tempted to suppose – are stricken by nostalgia for the past, scrambling for connection in the present, and living in fear of the future.

One thing they do share – the girls at least, the boys being more interested in their smartphones – is enthusiasm for cake. A dozen or so elegant sponges will be presented, sliced, eaten, mashed, stabbed and thrown before this evening is out.

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Chris Hook, The Daily Telegraph, 25 June 2012

“UNDER director Shannon Murphy”s stewardship, Vanessa Bates” play Porn.Cake is a lively, at times funny and largely attention-grabbing piece of work. And for a generation of X-ers who are approaching or, ahem, have just passed the big four-oh milestone, uncomfortably familiar.

Unfolding mostly as a series of manic monologues, Griffin Theatre”s Porn.Cake follows two couples, Ant and Annie and Bill and Bella. Their relationships are established, their careers on track, their lives solid. They have, in effect, reached that state of being Gen X so disdainfully denigrated back in the 1990s. So why are they so unhappy?

At the core of their discomfort is that uneasy feeling that there should be something more. With the respective blokes distracting themselves with implied affairs, their women-folk are being left to flounder. And linking these lives is an obsession with food, manifest most graphically in a constant gorging of cake, but also with sound bites of Jamie Oliver relating recipe instructions linking the scenes. But the trouble with all this is that, like cake, feeling full doesn”t mean feeling satisfied and like the characters, we”re left to ask if maybe there”s something more.


Annie Stevens, artsHub, June 25, 2012

“Cake is the new porn,” say four 30-somethings to each other in the increasingly loopy, funny and occasionally poignant Porn.Cake. And in a world in which food has become both vice, status symbol and addiction; and where both Masterchef and The Biggest Loserreign, a play about cake seems a perfectly apt emblem for our age.

On a bare, carpeted stage backed by Seventies-style palm tree print wallpaper, we see two long-term couples of the ‘typical’ inner-city Generation X type – mostly yuppie, vaguely hipster – who are struggling to make peace with where they have ended up. Nobody is especially happy and communication has become a struggle – especially when the menfolk seem more interested in their iPhones than their partners, whom they assure they find attractive, “still”.

Vanessa Bates’ play is a little slow to crank into gear. But when it does, it becomes a finely tuned combination of pathos and farce, and includes one rather exceptional scene of comedic dance complete with a touch of porn and plenty of strobe lighting. Almost every scene features a beautifully decorated sponge cake – indeed perhaps up to 15 cakes will be eaten, thrown, made out with and crumbled into the carpeted stage by the end of the night. The scenes – disjointed conversations between the couples and one standout monologue by Georgina Symes’s Annie, a naturopath on the verge of a breakdown after buy viagra online legally a rather difficult run-in with a client and a weird relationship to food – is spliced with snippets of TV chefs Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, further emphasising the curious relationship we have to food, sex and everything that comes between.

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