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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kitchen Witches’ Falls Flat

Theater Review

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Two actresses stand on a nearly vacant stage while trading comic jabs at each other. It’s not pretty, which is fine, but as a comedy it’s not particularly funny, either. Waukesha Civic Theatre’s The Kitchen Witches is another case of good talent and great potential trying to prop up a bad script. The winner of the 2005 Samuel French Canadian Play Contest, Caroline Smith’s The Kitchen Witches is light, inconsequential sitcom humor placed around an otherwise promising premise.

Cathy Marshall plays Dolly Biddle, a TV chef for a cable access show that is put together by her son Stephen (played by Matthew Lovison). The show begins as the Biddles (aided by a disinterested tech intern played by Jennifer Meyer) are shooting the final episode of Dolly’s show. When a rival chef named Izzy (Denise Meagher) shows up, the two begin to argue in a semi-comic fashion, which prompts an offer for the two to do a cooking show together. The initial animosity between the two ends predictably.

The production does manage to pull some charm out of the script, but can’t fully save a play with such weak humor. As one might expect, the argument between the two chefs gets physical and inevitably involves some food, but the overall comic energy of the animosity between Dolly and Izzy doesn’t pick up enough speed to create genuine humor.

Waukesha Civic Theatre’s production of The Kitchen Witches runs through May 16 (at 264 W. Main St., Waukesha).