REVIEW: The Actors' Gang ALL CAKE, NO FILE is what's cookin'

A Johnny Cash prison tribute cooking show concert? The concept alone should be enough to intrigue audiences into checking out All Cake, No File; the latest theatrical concoction from Los Angeles' prestigious The Actors' Gang. Set as part of the troupe's WTF?! Festival, all proceeds from the show are donated to the community outreach program, The Actors' Gang Prison Project.

The recipe calls for a bizarre list of ingredients. Take one ultra-left wing Southern celebrity chef hostess (played by the spicy Donna Jo Thorndale) who is cooking live for the California state prison system. Mix in special guests Wayne Kramer (Nov. 20th only) and a rockin' set by Johnny Cash tribute band With a Bible and a Gun and you've got a delicious night of theater.

Creator and star Donna Jo Thorndale sizzles and stings as her alter ego "Jewell Rae Jeffers". Imagine an outspoken liberal Paula Deen with a penchant for profanity and overtly sexual food metaphors and you'll have a taste of what this show's host has in store. Her delivery is impeccable and she serves up a healthy dose of sass and backtalk, along with her delicious pastries-which the audience is invited to sample after the show.  

Though Thorndale is absolutely the main dish, while she steps off to "bake", the audience's appetite is held over by the boot stompin' music of Johnny Cash from tribute band With a Bible and a gun. For Cash lovers, the treat is a welcome one. Although, perhaps those unfamiliar with the music may not be tapping their toes from the music, but rather impatience, while waiting for the hilarious hostess to return to the stage. Structurally, the mixture of the two acts is a bit disjunctive, but overall for those audience members coming for a slice of humor and good tunes, All Cake, No File absolutely delivers.  

All Cake, No File performs Fridays at 9pm - Oct 30th, Nov 6, 13, 20, 27 at The Actors' Gang 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 (Corner of Culver & Venice Blvds.) Two hours of free parking is available across the street. Tickets can be purchased by calling (310) 838-4264 or by visiting Price is $15, all proceeds benefit community outreach programs.

Photo by Jonathan Kalan

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