It’s hard to imagine how Richard Bean’s early play, from 1999, has come back on stage, now at 59 East 59th St Theaters (as part of the annual Brits Off Broadway festival).  There is nothing but offensive, sophomoric crotch grabbing, swearing, and fist pumping, standing in for sex, with no recognizable plot.  The play takes place in an outmoded, filthy bakery that should have been closed down by any kind of health inspector, but hey, these are lower-class bakers just doing their jobs, without any dignity given to them by the playwright.  The set is comprised of all gray, dirty walls–from flour and used tea bags constantly being banged against them (the bags somehow always miss the over-filled, never-changed trash can).  Matthew Kelly, as Nellie, leads a fine cast who have nowhere to go in this play.  None of the actors seemed comfortable with their lines, nor should they be.  Bean’s One Man, Two Govnors had the same problem regarding juvenile swearing.  It made a US star of James Corden, but he would have been even funnier in the real Goldoni play, from 1743, which didn’t need updating to be relevant or comical.  We saw a revival of the original not long before Bean’s version.   Pass up Toast.   

© 2016 by Patricia Saffran.  All rights reserved.

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