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Capitalist Catfights: Cake at 45 Bleecker St. Theaters

If you're going to be in New York in June, try to catch the new play "Cake" by gay financial journalist-cum-playwright Felipe Ossa, at the 45 Bleecker St. Theaters. I saw this brainy, political, campy, sharp-tongued play, running through June 29, this weekend and laughed my ass off. It's set in 1999, the year of the dot-com boom, the lefty-anarchist WTO riots in Seattle and general Y2K anxiety, and Dana Dunnigan, smug and fierce in her wide-lapeled, Hillary-running-for-Senate pantsuit, is the Ann Coulter of her day, an acid-tongued right-wing pundit. But then Dunning, played to tart, smart, Annette Bening perfection by Ramona Floyd, is kidnapped by a lefty guru named Treacho and his minions, an angry, combat-booted riot-grrrl and two gay twink lovers, one who really mainly wants to shag (the very hot Samuel Adams) and one who can't keep his nose out of lefty theory books.

You may hate Dana, but as she goes head to head with each kidnapper, hands bound but tongue wagging, she puts up the smart, savvy fight of her life...and that's even before the play wallops you with not one but two twists that sneak up on you so suddenly you have to do a double-take. All amid cerebrally over-the-top lines like, "It all started out so Jane Campion but then devolved into a Lifetime original motion picture," and "Lending money to the Third World is like force-feeding a bulimic and then wagging a finger in her face."

Ossa has put his finance-journalism background to good use in this play that, in its expert pretzling of socioeconomic ideas and Grand Guignol catfights, feels like Shaw and Stoppard through a particularly trashy, fun gay lens. The soundtrack is great, too...and, yes, of course, it's got Courtney singing that she wants to be the girl with the most cake.


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Noah Michelson