By Soné Anandpara; Directed by Chelsea B. Lockie
Part of the 2018 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 10.24.18
FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street
by Charlotte Arnoux on 10.19.18
Ivy Hong and Soné Anandpara in Serving Brûlée. Photo by P. Santhiago.
BOTTOM LINE: A cult-like cooking show will teach you how to "become the brûlée."
Serving Brûlée is a cooking show for the woman who wants to have it all: beauty, grace, brains, career, family…basically for the woman who wants to be just like Lila Das (Soné Anandpara), the host of Serving Brûlée. You know who isn’t like Lila Das? Lila's guest for today: Michelle Stiles (Ivy Hong), a good-natured goofball with a healthy dose of insecurity and an undying admiration for Lila. She wants to learn how Lila does it.
In fact, it’s simple: if you want to “be the brûlée,” simply follow the golden rule: Make No Mistakes. But when Lila fails to follow her own rule and catastrophe strikes the show's kitchen set, she is faced with her own humanity. When everything falls apart, will she be able to follow her own advice and keep her cool? Will her cult-like baking mantras take her through to the next commercial break?
Anandpara plays the disturbingly robotic Lila with a plastered-on smile and a creepy soft voice. That being said, her charm is so infectious, I might have to convert to the cult of brûlée. Opposite Anandpara is Hong, whose performance is adept and precise. She pulls off the scattered Michelle with comedic timing that's responsible for the vast majority of the laughs. Her little asides, her facial expressions and her straight-faced reactions to the bizarre Lila make her a very relatable lead. The direction by Chelsea B. Lockie is inventive and makes great use of this unusual performance space: it’s an actual cafeteria! I definitely wished some real cooking was going on and we were blessed by that sweet brûlée smell. (Next time maybe they’ll actually… serve some brûlée?)
Serving Brûlée feels like an extended skit, padded with extra bits (some physical comedy, some impressions). Considering the improv background of both actors, this is no surprise. It’s an off-beat show with a lot of heart and a true celebration of the Fringe Festival’s indie spirit. Though some jokes don’t quite land and the resolution feels very rushed, Serving Brûlée offers a stage for two vivacious performances.
(Serving Brûlée plays at FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street at Charles Street, through October 24, 2018. Meet at the LIGHT BLUE FringeNYC flag. The running time is 50 minutes. Performances are Fri 10/12 at 7:30, Sun 10/14 at 3, Wed 10/17 at 9, Sat 10/20 at 7, and Wed 10/24 at 9. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $22 (plus $3.69 ticketing fee), $16 (plus $3.51) for seniors, and are ONLY available online at fringenyc.org. For more information visit servingbrulee.com.)
Serving Brûlée is by Soné Anandpara. Directed by Chelsea B. Lockie. Lighting Design by Rachel Zimmerman. Produced by Meredith Yannuzzi. Associate Producer is Emma Cavalier. Stage Manager is Claudia Toth.
The cast is Soné Anandpara, Emma Cavalier, and Ivy Hong.