By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Playwright Smith should treat every royalty check for The Kitchen Witches like a winning lottery ticket. Her play about expert cooks doesn't even bother to get its biscuit recipe right. The second act freeze-dries any possibility of fun when Dolly is rushed to the hospital for a mysterious ailment and Izzy and Stephen try to bond in an emotional scene so overblown it could qualify for FEMA relief.
Directed by Chris Taylor, RTC's cast is sillier and better the more they stray from the awful script. Lindley is a stitch as the shorter and meaner "witch," spitting out ad libs and pulling faces like the old comedian Martha Raye in her Bugaloos kids' show days. With a passing resemblance to lard-loving TV food fryer Paula Deen, Alexander lets her character, Isobel, drip with a greasy Dixie chawm. The actresses play off each other beautifully, achieving a slow-burn Lucy and Ethel finesse through the more-than-a-little-bit-racist Gone with the Wind costume bit. They really sizzle in the face-smearing food fight. You knew there had to be a food fight.
A Bollywood Lysistrata continues through September 5 at KD Studio Theatre. Call 214-630-5491.
The Kitchen Witches continues through September 5 at Richardson Theatre Centre. Call 972-699-1130.
In the RTC production, you're not supposed to notice or mind that Dolly and Isobel have been given what appear to be pocketknives to chop their veggies or that their appliances don't work (it's a plywood stove). The set of Martha Stewart it's not. Good thing Lindley, Alexander and Loomer, along with Fred Thompson in the nearly-silent role of the cameraman, are so skilled at slicing and dicing the crummy script. This is community theater, where they don't really care how the sausage gets made as long as you're laughing at the hams.