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Review: Buddy Valastro cooks it up nice in Montreal

In television on 09/17/2010 at 11:41 am

It was way before Buddy Valastro made his rock-star appearance Sunday (Sept. 12, 2010)  night, at the second of his two Place des Arts shows, to the pounding of Pour Some Sugar On Me (very nice touch).

And it was after I arrived in the foyer of Theatre Maisonneuve to find a lineup of fans, men and women both, hugging and shaking hands with Danny “The Mule” Dragone, one of the backroom cake-decorating co-stars of the hit TLC show Cake Boss, which has made boss man Valastro famous enough to bring his Bakin’ with the Boss Tour up to Canada. After walking alongside a woman in maybe her late 30s emailing a friend a photo of herself with Dragone.

After even, once seated, I was able to adjust to the strobing of cameras and camera phones as friends and family took photos of each other in front of the Bake Shop backdrop on stage. I recovered my vision in time to see the couple in front of me, maybe late 20s seated shoulder to shoulder, turn to each other and laugh and then kiss, and KISS, and then lean their heads together. Sigh. And then, I kid you not, another couple did pretty much the same thing.

And my thought was: This is just nice. Really nice.

Now, you’re thinking, this is supposed to be a review. It’s supposed to be some pithy descriptions of what Valastro did onstage, how the audience responded and whether it was a successful spectacle. Yeah yeah. I’ll get to that.

But the overwhelming feeling I got from the show last night was how nice it was. And how that niceness carried the evening.

I could and I will quibble with the pacing — four times members of the audience were invited onstage for cake-decorating challenges and by the fourth time, the romantic “big finale” Valastro had promised in an interview, it was too much, was taking too long, even if the flourishes by the contestants were sweet and funny.

Valastro’s own stories were earnest and heartfelt. About how his father taught him to be a good boy, a good cake decorator and a good man, but left him too young, dying when Buddy was in his late teens. About how Buddy fulfilled a promise to his father by getting their Hoboken, N.J. cake shop, Carlo’s Bakery, featured in a bridal magazine. And then more than 200 bridal magazines. And then the TV show. That much of this was information that fans of the show, about life in the family-run bakery, already know from watching is not such a big thing. That the storytelling didn’t bring Dragone onto the stage, to take advantage of the show’s wacky-family dynamic, was puzzling. In fact, why not bring more of the Cake Boss team into the tour?

The decision, for Valastro to decorate a cake while taking audience questions was a good idea, but once again the pacing suffered. Valastro was occasionally distracted either from a question or from the decorating, although no major catastrophes.

Like I said, it was nice. I was smiling all evening. The girl beside me, early 20s maybe, was bouncing in her seat. The couple of in front of me looked at each other some more and beamed. People took more cellphone photos. They lept into the air like springs when Valastro called for women, then men, then children and finally romantic husbands who wanted to come up and decorate cakes.

It was a lovely evening. The other things are just crumbs. Don’t know if I’d go see this show again, but I bought myself a Carlo’s Bakery T-shirt.

Thanks boss. It was nice.

Denise Duguay

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