Josh Brady has proved that a way to a man's heart is not his stomach. In his new comedy "Joyce Baking," Brady examines the dating game, its fun and foibles and how it works at Brigham Young University, a campus that has been referred to as one of the most socially dead in the country.
A word of warning. You must have an understanding of the LDS dating scene to fully appreciate the more subtle lessons in this production.Through the evening the audience will examine everything from the proper preference hairdo to defining Christian love, dating attitudes and male/female relationships.
Joyce, played skillfully by Colleen Baum, has been called to be her Ward Relief Society Recipe Specialist. She has been raised to believe that it's the man's job to ask for the dates, open doors and initiate hand-holding, and that you should never kiss and tell. She likes cooking for men on Sundays, gives everyone the benefit of the doubt and watches "Little House On the Prairie."
She is nice. And in this script "nice" means no personality.
Becca, played equally as well by Jana Valentiner Morrill, is the outgoing roommate.
Becca is the Ward Activity Co-Chairman, she loves dating, kissing and life in general, unless she is being bitter over some "jerk" she just dated. She encourages Joyce to make moves and be demonstrative around men . . . because Joyce has so much to offer. Becca's loyalty to Joyce's love life is commendable, until it gets in the way.
Alex, played by talented Javen Ronald Tanner, is the Elder's Quorum instructor and a recently returned missionary. He is looking for good friends and fun times during his stay at BYU. He is most often sincere and really tries to make Joyce his center of attention. While he likes the way she cooks, Joyce bakes her relationships way too long.
This is a must-see for anyone who has dated and fallen in love at BYU, or in any other dating arena for that matter. Some of the scenes came far to close to home for this reviewer and former BYU coed. To paraphrase an old cliche, "I laughed, I cried, it was a part of me." It brought back memories of roommates dating the same guy at the same time, and a whole lot of lonely weekends where the television was a best friend. It also proved that things haven't changed over the decades.
This should be mandatory viewing for every new student at BYU. In fact, this should be part of freshman orientation. After all, dating is just as much a part of college as the academics. This game is far more interesting that anything you'll see at Cougar Stadium.
The set is a simple coed apartment living room and kitchen, the costumes every day college wear. However, don't be fooled, even these props are part of the story. As time progresses you will find yourself understanding that this apartment has chasms and valleys not even its inhabitants understand.
While I want to say this is a good date event, couples will most likely end up discussing the potentials of their relationship after the show. Both guys and gals need to see this and think about. Hopefully Brady's insights will encourage another script. Next time lets have it take place in the men's apartment.