Frindle carries message of teacher appreciation
The Coterie Theatre
The Coterie Theatre
Frindle, based on the book by Andrew Clements, is a fun show with a reminder to appreciate the task-master teachers that help us make the most of ourselves.
The show opens with Mrs. Granger (Peggy Friesen) retiring from her career as a teacher. She learns a former student has set up a scholarship fund in her honor. The action then flashes back to her memories of this student, Nick (Cooper J. Scott). It is the first day of school, and Nick and his friends Howard (Nick Grant), Janet (Melanie Humphrey) and Chris (Aaron Elias Branch) are anticipating a difficult year with Mrs. Granger, a teacher known to be strict and demanding.
Nick comes up with a plan to distract Mrs. Granger from the lessons and avoid homework assignments. He asks, "Where do words come from?" and is surprised when Mrs. Granger assigns Nick to write a paper and present an oral report to the class on the subject. Mrs. Granger observes that people decide what words mean through common usage. Nick decides to create a new word. He and his friends begin calling a "pen" a "frindle." It catches on throughout the school, attracts media notice, and leads to a pen company marketing Frindles. The frenzy escalates beyond Nick's power to stop it, but through it all a special relationship develops between Nick and Mrs. Granger.
Peggy Friesen, as Mrs. Granger, has the perfect mix of seriousness and warmth. Cooper J. Scott conveys all of Nick's charm and ego. Nick Grant, Melanie Humphrey, and Aaron Elias Branch are fun to watch as Nick's faithful friends joining in with all of his schemes.
Several adults deserve mention for their supporting roles: Jennie Greenberry as the school principal, Mrs. Chatham; Alex Espy and Molly Denninghoff as Nick's parents; Corrie Van Ausdal as a newspaper reporter and television anchor; and Jeff Newman as a blue-haired convenience store clerk asked to sell the students a Frindle.
The set, designed by James Holborow, is very clever and efficient. Large white letters serve as school desks, benches, store counters and, eventually, stand to spell 'Frindle' against the back of the stage.
read the review at KC Stage