THE PASTISSERIE – Written by Tiffany Ogburn, Buba Basishvili, Meghan Frank, Nicole Dietz; Music by David Rynhart. Produced by Theatre Artibus (Present at the Savoy Event Center, 2700 Arapahoe, Denver) through October 15. Tickets available at 303-476-5902 or Savoydenver.com.
How refreshing to see something so new and original! This is a sparkling little petit four of a statement about the importance of our memories and how much they make up of our personalities. The plot concerns a soldier blown out of WWI and into an unusual candy factory. The two candy makers welcome him as they have apparently welcomed others before him. Using a number of guiles, they persuade him to share his memories and then convert them into candy which tastes like Grandma’s cooking, snow on a winter’s afternoon, and other nostalgic thoughts. How many of his memories is he willing to share? How long will they be able to keep him with them? What happens if he leaves? Does he get his memories back?
An introductory section instructs the audience on their role in a call and response that echoes throughout the performance. We are to follow instructions or we would be “pelted by candy.” We also get to sample the candy to convince us that all this effort is worth the finished product.
Put together in the manner of a Commedia Del Arte piece touched with mime and a little burlesque clowning, the production has a old-fashioned charm rarely seen in modern original productions. It is no surprise to see in the performer’s bios that all three – Buba Basishvili, Tiffany Ogburn, and Meghan Frank – have done considerable international study and work. Additionally, all three move effortlessly with the grace of dancers. They do choreography with their candy factory desks, chairs and equipment that is nothing short of amazing.
Original and adapted music was created for the piece by David Rynhart; just listen to how he changes the whole mood of “Singing in the Rain” from joyful to questioning. The music is integral to the piece; it wouldn’t have succeeded without it. And succeed it did.
Theatre Artibus doesn’t perform for the public often but when they do, it’s worth the effort of trying to find a parking place at the Savoy to attend. And those who haven’t visited the newly remodeled Savoy with its vaudeville filled lobby and swank bar need to find an excuse.
A WOW factor of 8.75!!