Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl by Paper Plaid Productions was the show I was most excited to review at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. Apparently I wasn’t the only one since the very first performance opened to a sold-out house!
Joanie Little, the character written and played by Rebecca Perry, is someone that most of us 20 and 30-somethings can relate to. No wonder this show has won so many awards. Little is a recent-ish university graduate who was told to chase her dreams and the job and money would follow. Except that she graduated in 2009. In Anthropology. And now she works at a coffee shop.
It’s a story that’s sadly all too familiar to recent grads – myself included – and somehow we have to find a way to keep our dreams alive and learn to laugh at this absurd state of affairs. The message I got from the show was that sooner or later everything changes; unexpected encounters lead to new beginnings and the journey we take to get there makes our lives that much richer and full of adventure.
From the moment the show started there was a fun and upbeat vibe in the room. I think we all soaked up Perry’s infectious energy. Her comedic timing is spot on, her acting is superb as she slips in and out of characters, and her singing is absolutely pitch perfect. The show is entertaining from beginning to end and the references are just so relatable that the people on either side of me kept saying “that’s so true” between bouts of laughter.
There is live musical accompaniment during her songs and I thought it was pretty amazing that I was sitting a couple of feet away from the musicians and they didn’t drown her out. I have found that at a lot of smaller shows, especially on opening night, the singer can get drowned out depending on where you’re sitting but thankfully this wasn’t the case tonight.
The description for the show says that’s it’s suitable for ages 9-99 and I think that’s true. The audience comprised of a diverse age group and they all seemed to have a great time. Get your tickets now. If tonight was any indication this is going to be a sold-out run and I hope it is because Perry is one talented lady.
Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl plays at the Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst St)
July 05 at 11:00 PM
July 07 at 01:30 PM
July 09 at 07:30 PM
July 11 at 05:45 PM
July 12 at 12:30 PM
July 13 at 04:00 PM
Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of writer/performer Rebecca Perry as Joanie Little by Bryan Zilyuk