David Storch’s Jeff (left) knows ‘there’s always money’ when indecision rears its ugly head.  Bethany Jillard’s Riley (centre) and Maggie Huculak’s Bryn (right) let the misbehaving birthday boy have his say in the Tarragon Theatre presentation of ‘Cake and Dirt.’



If playwright Daniel MacIvor gets one thing about the human condition is that’s people are perpetually unpredictable.   Is this because so many of us spend half of the time hiding from the truth while others are hell bent on simply distorting it?

Either way, he relies on a keen sense of synthesized dialogue to put a dramatic spin on what most of us already know.

“Everybody lies,” insists Bethany Jillard as Riley, the 25 year old daughter of a divorced couple who has tendency to record everything she hears.  And so the easily accessible ghost story begins.

In Cake and Dirt, no one seems particularly clean in this thoroughly entertaining tale.  The amiable characters are conflicted over one issue or another while swaying from personality offence to defence.  Baked with intensity and rich with sarcasm, it’s bold, ballsy and beckoning.

All of which stems from a birthday party where an out of control Jeff (David Storch) pounds back the liquor putting those in attendance on high alert.  That which should not be said ultimately slips from the tongue with ex-wife Bryn (Maggie Huculak) and his current squeeze Naline (Laara Sadiq) doing little to get control of the situation.

Enter municipal counsellor, Jason (Patrick Kwok-Choon), who arrives unexpectedly for the celebration only to find himself cornered over his change of political heart in turning the local park into a city square.

If Bethany Jillard is the secret ingredient, David Storch is the icing that thickens the offering.  Tarragon seems to be a second home for the rising female star who previously appeared in the playwright’s How It Works while the veteran male lead always sweetens every project in which he immerses himself.

This is a very different play for Master MacIvor whose not set up a story quite like this before.  Cake and Dirt may not please everyone’s pallet but it undoubtedly serves as a welcoming piece of contemporary theatre for those that like big surprises.

Review by Jordan Allystair


CAKE AND DIRT by Daniel MacIvor March 3- April 15, 2015 TARRAGON THEATRE, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto TICKETS $29.00 – $55.00 416-531-1827 CAST Bethany Jillard, Maggie Huculak, Maria Vacratsis, David Storch, Laara Sadiq, Patrick Kwok-Choon DIRECTOR Amiel Gladstone COSTUMES Charlotte Dean SET AND LIGHTING Kimberley Purtell STAGE MANAGER Marcie Januska


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