Direct from its London run, this searing, sharp, state-of-the-nation comedy centers around a celebrity TV cook, whose life is more complicated than it appears. More…
Caroline Mortimer is the nation’s favorite TV cook. In the glow of the studio lights, she has it all—a sparkling career, a big house, a (golf) loving husband, smart kids, and the best kitchen money can buy. But when the camera turns off the truth comes out, and when an unexpected guest disrupts a night of celebration, there is more to spill than the wine.
"The entire cast carries out its rambunctious actions with remarkable comedic energy and aplomb, always maintaining a grounding in reality no matter how farfetched or bizarre their behavior…Don't expect to find yourself caring much about any of these inane creatures. They're essentially cartoons, intended not to make you feel or, despite the coating of social import…Its 90 minutes should give you lots of comic meat to chew on. Just be careful not to choke on all the funny parts." Full Review
“Betts fills his play with ironies...Langrishe does a very fine job of holding it all together and maintaining the reality of a woman of faith who actually hasn’t lived up to the tenets of her Christianity and is a hypocrite. The humor lies in her not seeing or understanding this with a...dumbness that is funny, but also exasperating...Delightful and enjoyable production. The pacing is well executed...The play develops with irony, elasticity and logic to a fine, memorable conclusion.” Full Review
“Torben’s play is a hot mess, which somehow contributes to its enjoyment factor, if unintentionally. The play starts off innocuously enough, but as we learn more about the characters, the gross luridness of it all takes center stage...Luckily, the production – directed by Alastair Whatley – is excellent, admirably covering up the play’s slightly disjointed structure and flimsy premise, as well as managing to sustain the play’s momentum without feeling like forced entertainment.” Full Review
“Whatley sublimely orchestrates the controlled onstage chaos, aided spectacularly by the increasingly (and hilariously) unhinged performances...Although Betts ratchets up the lunacy and manipulates his characters for his own ends more blatantly than Ayckbourn—which may be why Betts' play ends with a whimper instead of a comic bang—'Caroline’s Kitchen’ has been written, staged and acted with such ferocious wit that its minor shortcomings don’t matter.” Full Review
“Paced and acted like a madcap comedy. But...it’s heavy on the madcap and rather short on comedy...This longish one-act play has surprisingly few laugh lines. But take it as it is – brilliantly acted and directed, bubbling with quick dialogue and explosive motion – and it’s an enjoyable, at times poignant and even Wildean flight...Both frustrating and exhilarating, 'Caroline’s Kitchen' heats up the theater like grilling meat spattering hot oil. Better get your apron on." Full Review
"Either the worst domestic dramedy ever written, or a brilliant satire of the genre...The crash-and-burn can be great fun to watch, but it takes a lot of strenuous contrivance to get there...Whatley directs the cast like he's conducting a locomotive to hell, with the acceleration of line delivery compensating for the lack of organic tension in the script. It's like a 1970s farce...Still, 90 minutes of this so-bad-it's-good episode of Disasterpiece Theatre left me wiping away tears of laughter." Full Review
"Chock-full of intrigue from the characters’ lives, and Betts’s script includes comedic moments that cut through the play’s darker themes. Yet the play’s efforts to cram in as many dramatic turns as possible results in a claustrophobic piece that doesn’t give the characters, or audience, much room to breathe. Some of these plot points even feel extraneous...The constant tumult also makes the work feel largely one-note...The performers help make the unending drama more compelling to watch.” Full Review
"Torben Betts has taken British Farce and put it a crash diet of steroids. Not a good idea for any of us...Betts has thrown everything into this stew without discriminating. And unlike a good old farce there is no unraveling of story paths that will surprise or delight because we see everything coming a mile away, drip by drip...The cast has little chance to craft much of a performance and instead spend their time gasping and mugging from point A to point B and back again." Full Review
“It’s a comedy...Betts’ play is one of those Alan Ayckbourn sort of rueful British comedies where a bunch of self-absorbed individuals blithely stumble over each other’s personal follies...A neatly-written piece that is capably performed...Whatley ably stages the play upon a rather blandly-designed setting, where his adept actors do their best to make a satisfying meal out of their clashing characters. Perhaps you’ll find this show to be a tastier morsel than I did.” Full Review
"This careful recipe for disaster winds up feeling as overcooked as the roast that’s drying up in the oven throughout the show. Ms. Langrishe has the hard-smiling domestic diva persona down cold. And Caroline’s rare moments of stricken, wondering silence — when self-knowledge seems to be whispering in her ear — are the production’s most poignant, and the funniest. Mostly, though, it’s hard to care about these damned souls." Full Review
"There may be moments that amuse, but at the price of a serious hangover...There are perhaps another half dozen plot threads that show up and lead nowhere...To their credit, Ms. Langrishe, Mr. Gillett, and Ms. Banks give it their all by frenetically playing things up as if they were appearing in an actual well-constructed farce, and there is no faulting their timing under Whatley's direction. But, to quote Mme Armfeldt from "A Little Night Music," Where is style? Where is skill?" Full Review
"Tries too hard to be like Alan Ayckbourn...Nobody here is truly likable...Langrishe and Gillett are simply not believable. Both are doing over the top performances trying to right this play and at times succeed, but never are grounded...Whatley should have stuck to a recipe, because it seems like ingredients are missing...’Caroline’s Kitchen’ is filled with an abundant of issues but they all seems like last decade. Maybe this would make a better sitcom, as not all recipes are gourmet." Full Review
"Torben Betts' 'Caroline's Kitchen' has all the elements for a wonderful farce with serious overtones. However, as seen in Alastair Whatley's production for the Original Theatre Company and Ghost Light Theatre production, it feels tiresomely long and labored in its attempt to bring down the roof on a group of egotistical modern Englishmen and women at work and play in contemporary Britain." Full Review
"Torben Betts' play is something of a twofer, being both a grating, laughless farce and a failed example of that British theatre favorite, the state-of-the-nation play...Since all of the characters are one-note nags, there is little that the cast can do...Otherwise, the best thing to be said about Alastair Whatley's direction is that it keeps things hustling along." Full Review
for a previous production "This black-comedy starts at a gentle canter but quickly gains pace, and the entire cast have to stretch themselves to stay up with the action. The script is a well-crafted mixture of harmless humour peppered with unexpected outrageous twists...The second half certainly steps up the speed and the cast are to be congratulated on all turning in very fine performances. A delicious night out with plenty of food for thought." Full Review
for a previous production "Everything except the SMEG fridge is thrown into the mix, to the point of overburdening the script and, in the final act, the golden rule of ‘show not tell’ is broken again and again as backstories come tumbling out...Whatley’s direction is snappy and the ensemble cast wholeheartedly and energetically pull off the increasingly physical demands of the script, however the frantic, almost violently Jacobean climax sits uneasily alongside the more sit-com-flavoured first act." Full Review
for a previous production "The play is billed as a comedy but fails to deliver much real humour, resorting to rather obvious and out-dated references to vegetarians, homosexuals and ‘dusky maidens’. Whilst the writer may be writing these dated lines for Mike to establish the dinosaur attitudes the effect becomes tiresome and loses credibility in the husband character. Overall the play begins to feel rather like a 1970s farce, and yet not sufficiently knowing to be laughing at itself." Full Review
for a previous production "The problem with 'Caroline’s Kitchen,' and Monogamy, is that all of its characters are monstrously appalling. They are awful and we really can’t find a soupçon of sympathy for any of them...There are lines, particularly from Mike, that hit home to theatre-goers of a certain age but, generally, the laughs are few and far between. Still not a great comedy but one which is lifted by Gillett’s rousing turn." Full Review
for a previous production "The plot is entirely predictable. The main problem is, however, is that for us to feel anything for the characters, we have to feel some sympathy for them when the comedy darkens. Every character is so dislikeable, that it was hard to care about anything except when this play would end...Director Alastair Whatley appears to have given the cast one note, which is to shout very loudly. It begins at high volume, and never lets up, so we go on no journey with the characters." Full Review
See it if You love British comedies like "Ab Fab", crazy situations with a dysfunctional family, an affair, a son who's coming out as gay, etc.
Don't see it if You take life very seriously and don't want to see a gut-busting fast-paced 95 minute comedy. Surprise "guest" at the end was hilarious too.
See it if You like dark and messed up theater where are you feel bad laughing and enjoying what’s going on but can’t help yourself
Don't see it if You don’t enjoy a far-fetched family drama that is out there and may be a bit unrealistic
See it if Good and at times silly humor, funny situation, most of them predictable but still enjoyable;talented British actors, not too long (95 min),
Don't see it if too serious, live far away and will spend more time for commute than for the actual show;expecting light comedy to talk about politics
See it if you want to see a good production of a competent play. performances, especially the lead, are strong, writing and directing skillful.
Don't see it if you are expecting Chekhov. Torben Betts is a poor man's Alan Ayckbourn. Better than his last outing, and not as bad as some British farce.
See it if you like a mix of drama and farce ...some real issues dealt with and then all turned on its head for comic affect.
Don't see it if you don't like the above or want all your theater very serious.
See it if You like comedy mixed with drama plays that deal with family and friends issues. Also if you like British themed plays.
Don't see it if If you would rather see a strict comedy or a strict drama play. Also if you don't like British themed shows.
See it if You like British humor and family dramedies. You’re interested in reflections on class and political differences, and aging.
Don't see it if You have a hard time with British accents - some characters could be a bit hard to understand and there’s a lot of yelling making it harder
See it if Brits Off-B'way entry brings perfect middling-celebrity domestic goddess unraveling during a boozy pre-tape hosting her cooking show.Britty
Don't see it if Full-strength Brit wit with schtick might prove to be too strident for the delicate Stateside palate. Debris-strewn.Over the top.Very Britty
Also "We've gained the world, but lost our souls!"
See it if British comedy that starts out slow (for 1st half) and then becomes frenetic; see how reality very different from public persona
Don't see it if don't like British humor, over-the top, physical comedy; dysfunctional families with secrets & communication issues*
See it if you are a fan of over-the-top but entertaining British comedy;this show devolved very quickly into a typical Brit mish-mash of serious/funny
Don't see it if you hate over-the-top British comedy which starts out seriously but devolves into chaos.
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