NY Theater Review by JK Clarke
“You know what you remind me of?” asks the woman standing in front of a makeshift kitchen in a cute, short, red pouf dress, apron, matching red heels, red hair and sparkling eyes. She’s addressing an audience member who has come into the theater and is looking for a seat. She’s not late. The show hasn’t started yet. “A rum ball!” she says. Another audience member is a peppermint patty, still another a pineapple upside down cake. We begin to look for a seat further back, out of her eye line, lest we be labelled a macaroon.
“Are you allergic to peanuts?” she asks others.
The woman is Daliya Karnofsky, and this is her show, And She Bakes, Live at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival. It’s a theatrical adaptation of her popular weekly YouTube series (on Sundays). Karnofsky is a mashup of Amy Sedaris, Julia Child and your neurotic ex-girlfriend. She’s baking cookies today, and she talks about the importance of the ingredients and how they relate to things in life, especially relationships. Especially her failed relationships and the disappointment of her friends, family and self at these failed relationships. Plus, she gives dating advice to fans who’ve emailed her. Their names get big hearts drawn around them on a screen behind the kitchenette. Her advice is sometimes sound, sometimes bitter, but always pleases her. And, when she’s feeling particularly good, she does a little dance.
Karnofsky is entertaining and clever, playing the klutzy cook to amusing effect and doing dances that feel improvised and clumsy, but are very well choreographed. It’s a tough comedic feat to pull off awkward so expertly. Karnofsky clearly has chops in both acting and movement. With direction by Annie G. Levy, And She Bakes, Live! features a very cute and effective set by Elizabeth Tolson and fun sound design by Chad Chenail. It’s an appropriately brief, one-hour segment that concludes with very delicious cookies (savory and sweet)—she doesn’t give you the cookies she’s actually mixing on stage, but they’re quite fresh nonetheless and it’s the same recipe—for the audience as they file out the door.
It’s a charming, funny piece that makes painless the wait for the worth-waiting-for cookies. The only question that remains at the end, however, is: What does she remind us of?
Hmmm, I’d say Layer Cake.
And She Bakes, Live! 2014 New International Fringe Festival. Remaining performances: WED 8/20 @ 6:15, THU 8/21 @ 9:45 & FRI 8/22 @ 6:00 . At the Center of Whimsy (C.O.W.), 21 Clinton Street (between Houston and Stanton). www.terranovacollective.org/