I had seen the commercials and it looked like it was either going to be crazy good or crazy bad. I have never really written a bad review and it makes me uncomfortable but I’ve gotta be honest. You’ve already guessed that it was crazy bad, right?
The concept is a little odd to begin with. Acrobats and food. The show was written by a Montreal company called 7 Fingers. They’ve been together for 15 years by Cirque de Soleil acrobats that felt they wanted to invest in the material more emotionally. The performers in Cuisine and Confessions are American, French, Russian, Finnish and Argentinian. It’s cool that a bunch of nationalities perform in one show. It’s not cool that sometimes you can’t understand what the hell they are saying. And that’s just one of the problems. Actually, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m going to give this show the “shit sandwich” treatment. First some fresh, lovely squishy white bread…
The set is lovely. The cast has all contributed something that reminds them of their personal kitchen stories.
They also told their kitchen stories throughout the performance which is the through line for the show. We got there a little early and the performers were out engaging the audience by handing out candy, choosing audience members to come up on the stage and do some meal prep and tossing eggs from the stage to the middle of the audience. The show started when one of the Argentinian performers told us (through a very thick accent), that they were going to cook a meal over the length of the show and we would get to eat at the end of it. That all sounded pretty fantastic. Pasta and banana bread. Who doesn’t love banana bread!
Now I’m going to give the shit part of the sandwich. Acrobatics and food. While it sounds like it could work, it doesn’t. At all. Half the time, I wasn’t sure what the hell was going on. There was one story that had a Finnish girl spreading chocolate pudding all over her face. What? There was another that had the same girl announce something about her life at the start of an interpretive dance and, only when it was over, did I realize that she had acted out her whole life in 5 minutes. One of the Argentinian performers (Matias Plaul) told a story about his father who a rebel and “disappeared” in the 70’s when Matias was a little boy. He told the story and interwove climbing and performing on a Chinese pole. It was poignant and probably the highlight of the show. Except that audience members were laughing. I’m hoping it was because they couldn’t understand the story due to his accent. The whole thing made me feel creepy and weird and English and I wanted to leave. Which we couldn’t because it was a 90 minute performance with no intermission. I’m guessing there was no intermission so that no one could leave during it. I would have. A whole bunch of other stuff happened that was disjointed and weird. There were a couple of acrobats that did impressive dives and jumps (sometimes feet first) through wooden frames that they assembled.
It would have been fan-freakin-tastic. Except the screwed up a least 5 times. That’s unacceptable. Once, I get. Twice, you’re having a bad night. 5 times, you’re bad at what you do. Or change the tricks so you can perform them successfully EVERY time.
Going back to the fluffy white bread part of the review now. I like that they attempted to do something interesting and new and fun. I was happy to eat Hershey’s kisses that were thrown our way. I liked that they had us synch our iPhones by setting a timer to 36 minutes which is exactly how long it takes to bake banana bread. It was great to smell food cooking while we watched the show. But none of that was enough to tempt me into lingering after the show to eat said banana bread. We high tailed it outta there.
As I was walking to the subway, I passed two women discussing the show. Apparently they have seasons tickets and see every show that ever comes through the theatre. And they both agreed that this was the WORST show they’ve ever seen. ‘Nuff said.