Kitchen Witches is a broad comedy. Two competing cable-television cooking divas are thrown together as co-hosts of a new show, and their simmering animosity toward each other boils over to the delight of the audience—both the fictional audience and the real California Stage theater audience.
The stars of the new show, aptly named Kitchen Witches, are life-long acquaintances and sworn enemies, Dolly and Isobel. And when long-hidden secrets start to seep out on air, all hell and havoc break loose. Described as an integration of Martha Stewart and Jerry Springer, Kitchen Witches is a hoot and a holler, mostly due to the comedic talents of the two lead actresses—Deborah Shalhoub and Michele Koehler, who keep the show going even after the story begins to lose steam.
This is a campy show with exaggerated humor—the puns are groaners, the antics over the top, and there is not a pinch of subtlety in this comic confection.
Kitchen Witches is basically a two-woman show (with help from Nicholas Koehler as the show’s producer/announcer/Dolly’s son and Erin Dimond as the quiet stage manager), and director Penny Meagher wisely spotlights the great chemistry between the two California Stage veteran actresses. Koehler, the great double-taker and snide-remarker, and Shalhoub, the woman with a thousand faces and accents (and talented sister of Tony Shalhoub, star of TV show Monk), clearly are having a blast slinging insults as they sling hash and other food items.
The theater audience quite willingly doubles as the television audience, complete with applause, interaction and participation. And they quite willingly embrace these divas as they dish the dirt and cook up new ways to torment one another.