Friday, December 11, 2015

theatre review - NON-FAT SOY PEPPERMINT LATTE...WITH SPRINKLES - Brelby Theatre Company

Courtney Kenyon and Clayton Caufman
Photo by Fernando Perez
 "...there have been dozens of theatrical adaptations of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"—several of which are produced every December in Phoenix. So it's refreshing to see a relatively new, modern holiday play that pays homage to, but isn't a rehash of, Dickens' classic tale of redemption and also includes elements of another Christmas classic, It's a Wonderful Life. Brelby Theatre Company's original drama, Nonfat Soy Peppermint Mocha Latte ... with Sprinkles, is a smartly written play that includes touches of comedy, good leads, and tight direction, resulting in a moving modern update to these familiar Christmas stories. Hardworking Daren doesn't enjoy the holidays due to some bad family events from his past. When his co-worker Trish has problems coaxing Daren into the holiday spirit, it is up to their local barista, who just happens to also be a "spirit-in-training," to take matters in to his own hands. Playwright Brian Maticic's story is fairly simple yet includes enough plot twists, tender moments, and character specific dialogue to achieve a rich dramatic story...Director Melody Chrispen does a good job of eliciting realistic performances from most of her cast....As Daren, Clayton Caufman is appropriately rude and self-centered to the people around him, though we occasionally see a glimmer of hope when he speaks to Trish.... Courtney Kenyon is especially convincing as Trish, making her not only genuine and lifelike but creating an honest, normal person in the process. Caufman and Kenyon are so good at portraying these people that you root for them and want to see them end up together. Zachary Arnold brings a pleasant sense of playfulness to the part of the Spirit, a nice counterpoint to the seriousness of Caufman's portrayal of Daren. Arnold also has good comic delivery. ...In Nonfat Soy Peppermint Mocha Latte ... with Sprinkles, the Spirit tells Daren that "love, cheer and friendship" is all he needs to truly enjoy the holidays. Brelby's production of this modern tale is a fine updated homage to classic Christmas stories, with very good leads, that gets to the heart of what those three simple words so effectively convey and how they are what we all need to not just enjoy the holidays but life as well."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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