I am still shaking after the opening of Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl (Rebecca Perry Productions) at the 2015 Toronto Fringe. Part of that comes from the two cups of CSI Coffee Pubs cold brew I sampled in the line-up, but most of it comes from Joanie Little’s (Rebecca Perry) infectious energy and compelling story.
When the show began, I wished for a moment that I was back at last year’s Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl, where I first met aspiring anthropologist/barista Joanie Little. I recognized her story and could relate to it as a recently graduated playwright.
I thought that no sequel could compare. But Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl does what most sequels can only hope to do: it grows with its character. It journeys with Joanie to show how getting her dream job outstretches her wildest dreams, but not without bringing its own new bumps, sacrifices, and tough life decisions. It’s a relatable and heart-wrenching story. Refreshingly, it’s also a hilarious and hopeful one.
I listened to new soulful music numbers and watched in awe as Rebecca Perry created a large cast of characters not from familiar Toronto cafes, but from the jungles of Tanzania. Some of my favorites were Jane Goodall herself, Joanie’s Irish tent mate, an obnoxious American intern named Chris, and Debbie the sticky sweet camp nurse. Not to mention the chimpanzees Fetch and Korra that Rebecca Perry also brings to life.
But if you missed the first instalment, Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl won’t leave you behind. My friend who had never seen the original show laughed just as loud as I did—and was one of the first up for a standing ovation.
The Annex Theatre provides a wonderful setting for Joanie’s Tanzanian camp with its double staircases and intimate seating, but it’ll fill up fast after the sold out opening. My suggestion: book your tickets early so you won’t miss the redheads and chimpanzees at this year’s Fringe.
And maybe only grab one cup of coffee; Rebecca Perry’s one-woman performance already packs quite an energetic punch.
- Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl is playing until July 15 at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst Street).
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the peformance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
July 04 at 12:00 PM
July 05 at 05:45 PM
July 06 at 08:30 PM
July 07 at 12:30 PM
July 08 at 11:00 PM
July 12 at 05:45 PM
Photo of Rebecca Perry provided by Rebecca Perry Productions.