Bushwhacked gets back to baking at 2022 Rochester Fringe Festival 

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Bushwhacked — the improv-based comedy duo of Abby DeVuyst and Kerry Young — is tying on its baking apron again this year at the Rochester Fringe Festival with a new edition of “Bushwhacked British Bake Off” that is already sold out.

This year the Bushwhacked tent will be home to the “Game of Scones,” a mashup of the Netflix hit baking show “The Great British Bake-Off” and the HBO fantasy drama series “Game of Thrones.”

From the moment audience members enter the Bushwhacked tent, they will take on the roles of contestants on the show. The Bushwhacked duo will play the show’s hosts and judges interchangeably.

“Audience members come to our show, they can expect that they will be a part of our show,” DeVuyst said.

Up to 16 contestants will be divided into teams, or houses, of two. Each house will be provided aprons, an oven, and all the baking supplies they will need to undergo a series of baking challenges.

“We’re not experienced bakers and we don’t expect you to be,” DeVuyst said.

The “Game of Scones” will begin with a skills test, a challenge in which bakers are able to prove their technical skills. Later, bakers will undergo a “showstopper challenge” where they use their creativity to make an innovative treat. At the end of the show, the winners of “Game of Scones” will be announced.

“We give them nicknames. We play around with each person,” Young said of Bushwhacked’s audiences. “At some point, somebody gets Bushwhacked love in some form.”

“I feel like we are one of the fringe-iest fringy things you can do at Fringe,” Abby DeVuyst said.

DeVuyst and Young first began working together in the Rochester-based improv troupe Unleashed. They eventually joined forces to create Bushwhacked, an immersive experience that welcomes folks with a range of improv skills and encourages them to let loose and start laughing. Bushwhacked has been a part of the Rochester Fringe Festival since 2013.

“We’re peas in a pod, really,” Young said of the duo’s dynamic. “Once we found each other it was magical.”

The pair first introduced “Bushwhacked British Bake-Off” in 2019. Ever since, the improvised baking competition has been a sellout hit at the Rochester Fringe Festival, producer Erica Fee said.

“I think it’s the inventive or immersive nature of the shows,” Fee said. “People are really able to get down and dirty with the Bushwhacked gals every year.”

Bushwhacked will also host “Bushwhacked Backyard Bonfire,” and for fans of the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” this year they are throwing a ball and introducing the new “Bushwhacked Bridgerfun Ball(s).”

DeVuyst said that the small size of Bushwhacked shows allows the audience to quickly build community, connections, and inside jokes. After meeting new people at a Bushwhacked show, audience members will often get a drink together at the beer tent or add each other as Facebook friends, she said.

DeVuyst and Young both said that their favorite part of performing at Rochester Fringe Festival is the people who come back every year to support their shows. After each “Bushwhacked” experience, the duo gives out a trinket or button to their fans. And some even keep a collection at home, Young said.

“It’s always just this joy bomb,” DeVuyst said. “Everyone is excited to see us and we’re all excited to see them. And I think that is really what sustains us through all the crazy crap we put ourselves through.”

This story is part of CITY's partnership with the students of S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications' Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse University.
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