coffee, tea or me

Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

In Coffee, Tea or Me, two monologues parallel one another in a new semi-solo show by Les Kurkendaal also featuring Los Angeles based storyteller Marlene Nichols.

If you caught Les’s work at last year’s Fringe, you will instantly recognize his specific style, detailed, conversationally chummy, stories occasionally feeling a bit “stapled” together but never-the-less extremely personal – like it just happened five minutes ago.

This time around Les is on what he thinks is a long journey to simply remove himself from the doldrums of life in Los Angeles, get out of his personal funk and cure an unbearable malaise.  On his road trip across country to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to visit a friend dying of cancer, his one companion is NPR radio and a gorgeous narrative of a lonely American expat living in Paris.

As both he and his comically, always-slightly-on-the-wrong-foot American, face some hilarious, ridiculous, and occasionally scary stops along the way, Les is unexpectedly changed by the miracle of love and learns that sometimes we all make wrong assumptions.

The whole show is so beautifully off-handed with the quite extraordinary Ms. Nichols, as the German-American radio storyteller rendering one of the most delightfully funny and moving plays within a play. A discovery of the language of human touch. It’s a bit complicated but so satisfying.

Directed by Kimberly Harris.

Highly recommended

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