Regional Theater Review: BROWNIE POINTS (Lamb’s Players in San Diego)

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by Milo Shapiro on April 25, 2012

in Theater-Regional

POINTS FOR THE RICH MIX IN BROWNIE

Five women consider themselves to be friends because their daughters are in the same Girl Scouts troupe.  The bond they share should have been enough to plan and co-lead a weekend camping excursion for the troupe, but challenges along the way reveal different personalities that were belied by the cheerful “soccer mom” mode back home; the women are forced to examine what friendship means to them and what they each bring to the table.

Milo Shapiro San Diego Review Brownie Points Lamb’s PlayersJanece Shaffer’s thoughtful and entertaining Brownie Points doesn’t try to unearth huge revelations, but in Lamb’s Players’ capable production, smoothly directed by Deborah Gilmour Smyth, the patron is left with some solid food-for-thought that is infinitely more satisfying than Dinty Moore stew over a campfire.

Milo Shapiro San Diego Review Brownie Points Lamb’s PlayersInitially, the play feels too light, like a staged Chick-Lit novel or the next generation of Desperate Housewives, but the writing grows stronger once serious conflicts between characters begin, exposing the shadow-side of these Georgian housewives and businesswomen.  Poignancy is nicely balanced with humor, making the show feel rich and genuine. The cast is evenly solid, though some fine portrayals stand out: Karson St. John as the control freak Allison, and Erika Beth Philips as Jamie, the timid peacemaker with issues of her own to confront.

When one character says, “We stay friends by not talking about things like this,” she opens up a painful truth of American life: we refer to most of our relationships as “friends,” when we know in our hearts that they are acquaintances at best.  How deeply do we dare inquire and disclose to these so-called “friends” of ours? This is the resonating question that Brownie Points confronts us with.

photos by Ken Jacques

Brownie Points
Lamb’s Players Theatre in San Diego (Regional Theater)
scheduled to end on May 27
for tickets, visit http://www.lambsplayers.org

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