Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Through a series of 6 chapters, Nat, an American with a side hustle in cake eating, and perhaps some weight related issues, takes us through her TED talk which has a fairly full agenda. We get her take on body, mind, death, identity, God, everybody and cake. With a cake boy whose t-shirt gets much of the debris and some natty audience participation, we end up watching her having the cake and eating it.
This is a solo show which has personality. You feel that this TED talk may not solve anything but at least our host – dressed for all the world like a patisserie focused Dexter in white plastic sheeting – has a point to prove. It is that she may well have survived. Over the course of the show we get to hear what including her boyfriend – the pianist, her upbringing as a competitive athlete, her Mexican heritage, how therapy can help, getting in touch with her female side, getting a volunteer to come up and play a game show where he destroys cupcakes and then leaves with one as a prize, her belief structure and finally a slice of cake to go with the slice of life. It has heart.
Griffin has a way of getting into her stride eventually. Unfortunately, there are too many times when she becomes hesitant, less than comfortable in the piece and therefore does stumble. At one point a prompt was needed and whether it was part of the show or not, it felt genuinely that she had lost her way. It is a gamble if you are finding it difficult to keep in the script to go solo in this way, but we do have some fascinating insight being covered.
It is that which keeps you there. It is an interesting background and story from that athlete to now being at the Edinburgh Fringe. There are some great moments including the reference to Lolita which was really well considered and the remarks around God worked well. It is here that I thought she was at her best. Here there was a genuine reason where she felt vulnerable but confident in what she thought. When there were gaps it started to labour and you could feel the goodwill in the room begin to evaporate.
The setting was intimidating enough for us to walk into – woman with cake and huge knife! It worked a treat. The soundscape worked well but the Frat Party going on outside was unfortunate. The venue has always had challenges over noise, and this was ridiculous. I have no idea what the answer may be, but this was a show where the noise did affect the performer. It therefore affected our experience.
There is more to come from them, and it is a journey which feels like it will be worthwhile going on – it is just that just now, it needs to get comfy so we can all enjoy it more.