Faith, food and friendship come into serio-comic conflict when an exiled member of the titular kaffeeklatsch makes her unexpected return, just in time for a contentious conversation about Colm Tóibín’s controversial novel The Testament of Mary. Old hurts quickly hurl to the surface as the fivesome hash over their tangled interpersonal pasts, blackmailing and backstabbing each other like a geriatric Game of Thrones, before they finally come together and kumbaya.
Heather Cherron makes a potent impact as Portia, the provocative prodigal participant, while Pria (Jasmine Sawant) gets to deliver many of the cleverest quips However, the entire cast — which also features Christina Collins, Andrea Risk and writer Lisa Randall — all deliver well-seasoned performances under Christina Collins’ low-wattage direction, when they aren’t experiencing brief senior moments. The plot’s Boomer-centric crises (such as the scandal of single parenthood) probably won’t resonate much with younger audiences, but the spiritual and social issues it raises still have some cross-generational appeal.
Even though the Orlando Fringe is officially a theater festival, thus far this year I’ve seen several productions that felt far better suited for a circus tent, dance club or Vegas showroom, than the so-called legitimate stage. Now, I can add “dinner theater at The Villages” to that list. Whether you consider that a compliment or a warning all depends on your taste for small-stakes kitchen-sink kibitzing with a healthy dash of female-focused Hallmark Channel drama.
The Sorauren Book Club
The Universe Over 50
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