I’ll be honest – Theatre Nova’s “Mrs. Fifty Bakes a Pie” was not my favorite flavor. Let’s call it a strawberry rhubarb pie, but I prefer cherry. However, my taste buds appeared to differ from the middle-aged, married couple audience around me. The majority of whom spent the greater portion of the show laughing at the play’s sexual escapades.
Despite the fact that the dominatrix scene wasn’t exactly my taste, I found that the lead character, Fiona, learned valuable, relatable lessons that the audience could take to heart and her growth throughout the show’s 70-minute duration was inspiring.
Playwright Linda Ramsay-Detherage confronts hard-to-talk-about issues like emotional and physical abuse and sexual harassment with an amount of humor that gives the audience a sense of comfort in examining these topics. I commend Ramsay-Detherage on her ability to address such dark topics in an entertaining way, starting the conversations we need to have. She shows how quickly and easily it is to fall into the trap of insecurity and self-doubt when trying to earn another’s affection. But, despite losing yourself along the way, it’s possible to rediscover your individuality and goals.
The show’s characters were cast impeccably.
Sarah Burcon succeeded in making Fiona (Mrs. Fifty) a likeable and relatable character, one who was easy to empathize with. Watching Fiona’s transformation from a meek, compliant housewife to a confident, badass, independent woman was motivating.
Marta, played by Jeannine Thompson, is the kind of friend every woman needs. The kind who gets you drunk, plans revenge on the guy who did you wrong and stands by you through your toughest times. Thompson was comical and eccentric in her performance and it gave the show much-needed lightness and fun.
Patrick O’Lear played John, the self-absorbed and abusive husband of Fiona. While his character was an utterly nauseating fellow, O’Lear played him so well. Every rude, degrading comment he made was believable and his words hurt the audience as much as they hurt his wife.
Finally, no dominatrix would be complete without the perfect costume and Carla Milarch’s designs were on point. In addition to creating textbook sexy get-ups, she designed the perfect homemakers’ look to give Fiona her insecure, submissive personality at the beginning of the show.
If you can handle the whip and the handcuffs, then head to Theatre Nova for the final weekend of “Mrs. Fifty Bakes a Pie.” It will leave you feeling ready to break free of any emotional or physical restraints holding you back from achieving your goals. Due to sexual content, this play is for adults only.
“Mrs. Fifty Bakes a Pie” will play this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Purchase your tickets here: https://www.artful.ly/theatre-nova/store/events/11380