Rebecca Perry’s Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl, which plays as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is absolutely delightful and triumphant.
The story follows Joanie, a redheaded anthropologist and former barista, who lands the internship of her dreams working with chimpanzees with Jane Goodall in Tanzania. Joanie is exuberant and sensitive with a heart of pure gold, who struggles with the heat, the rainy season, and a few wayward chimps as she attempts to impress a very reticent Jane Goodall.
Perry plays a wide range of characters, most of them in different accents, with absolute precision. The characters are beautifully well developed and spring into life with nuance, humour and definitive clarity. One of the most beautiful moments in the play is an interaction between Joanie and Koa, the sweet man who guards against poachers, as he offers her local coffee and jokes with her with perfect awkwardness. This interaction is so intimate and subtle that it is unbelievable that both characters are played by a single actor. Perry’s Jane Goodall is also especially proficient.
There are a few musical interludes where Perry sings, as Joanie, as her bighearted emotions swell beyond the breadth of spoken words. Perry’s singing voice soars sweetly and with gusto, endearing Joanie even more ardently into the depths of the hearts of her audience.
In all, this musical play is filled with comedic panache, high energy and a beautiful story about a girl who meets genuine challenges with intelligence, creativity and positivity, and falls in love with her awesome career. There is nothing more empowering than that.
Go see this show and cheer for Joanie; you’ll feel better about the state of Canadian Theatre once you’ve seen it.
TWISI FRINGE RATING:
Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl plays at the Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst Street) at the following times:
July 05 at 05:45 PM buy tickets
July 06 at 08:30 PM buy tickets
July 07 at 12:30 PM buy tickets
July 08 at 11:00 PM buy tickets
July 12 at 05:45 PM buy tickets
Rebecca is taking her prequel show Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this summer! For more information please visit her website.