Reviewed by Nicole C. Lee
Do you know the Muffin Man? Lyla sure does – and she loves more than the muffins he brings. Muffin Man follows her adventures as a new barista who, on her first day of work, falls all over again for her childhood crush, Justin (the “Muffin Man”). Camille Harris writes and directs this sweet, light-hearted musical, combining the addictive nature of a good cup of java with a handful of zany characters.
The opening begins with bars from the play’s familiar namesake, but from there, it’s Harris’ own secret recipe. The ingredients are all good, too: the set is a simple, little coffee station, and there are a plethora of costumes for the nine-person cast and their multiple roles. Over the course of an hour at The Perky Coffee Bean, Lyla (Samantha Blain) and her spunky yet charming boss, Sadie (Shaye Troha), deal with the unpredictable characters and situations that come their way. In one instance, two businesswomen enter the shop and offer to pay for the other’s coffee. What begins as a friendly and polite gesture turns into a competition of who can persuade Lyla to take her credit card first. Harris manages to include many of these comical moments that also poke fun at America’s addiction to coffee (Starbucks, anyone?).
People of all ages will be able to relate to the teenage angst aspect that Lyla is suffering. At one point, Lyla is just about to reveal her true feelings to Justin when her mother appears and embarrasses her by offering to drive Lyla home (“but Mom, Justin offered to take me home!”).
It’s not often these days that audiences are treated to a classic romantic musical. Muffin Man delivers a charming one and does so in a modern way. The show’s tunes allow the actors to show off their vocal chops without being taxing on the audience. All in all, Muffin Man is a delightful show that will leave a smile on your face.
FringeNYC 2009 Encore Series: Muffin Man (60 minutes, no intermission)
The Actors Playhouse (100 Seventh Avenue)
Tickets: $15 - 18 (www.fringenyc.org)
Performances: September 16, 23 @ 7PM, September 26 @ 6PM, September 27 @ 3PM
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