EFR - Reviews of Kaffa!

Kaffa!

Sat 3rd – Sat 10th August 2013

reviews

Rose Bonsier

at 09:51 on 6th Aug 2013

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A comical portrayal of life working and drinking in a coffee shop, Kaffa is an incredibly observant piece that perfectly captures the stereotypical variety of customers and staff that frequent big café chains. On the whole this play is very well thought through and co-ordinated, playing out almost as a series of sketches focused on different situations that might occur during a regular day. The piece is, however, joined together by the overarching theme of the CEO coming to visit, although a subsequent twist in the end of this tale serves to cleverly highlight the futility of seemingly pleasant coffee shop life.

The four actors played the collection of the four coffee shop staff wonderfully, depicting the amusing array of reactions to the requirements of their job in a skilled and creative way. The team was made up of a friendly Spanish barista, a socially inept employee who struggled to communicate with the customers, and a failed pop star with hilarious distain for her job. Led by an obsessive and tyrannical manager they depicted the less appealing side of working in Kaffa, from scrubbing tables to serving disengaged customers on the phone. The group’s use of physical theatre was an interesting way to demonstrate the hectic and repetitive nature of the job, and their constant repetition of the Kaffa tag line at every possible opportunity successfully highlighted the robotic nature in which they served customers.

Considering there were so many customers to play and that this involved a lot of quick character changes for the actors, their characterization was very strong. The character stereotypes were cleverly observed, meaning that they came across as very funny without being excessive. My personal favourites were the kids who went to Kaffa to celebrate their friend’s birthday then spent the whole time talking through Facebook, and the ‘creative type’ guy with a habit of planting himself in a coffee shop to write.

I’d be interested to know more about the development of this piece, because the mix of creativity and trueness to life in the play is really rather wonderful. It’s a comical play that’s original and quirky but without being too off-the-wall, and that balance is what makes it so enjoyable.

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Florence Strickland

at 10:09 on 6th Aug 2013

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Perhaps you are sick of physical theatre, interpretive theatre, memory theatre and shocking(ly bad) stand-up? If so, this is the show to see. ‘Kaffa’ by Porcelain Cat Theatre Company presented a light-hearted social commentary set in a café, Kaffa café – quelle surprise. Generally I was laughing through the whole thing, although some of the jokes were a bit on the strange side. The strength of the production was the actors’ various characterisations.

An uncomplicated sketch show with a range of comical characters was a simple idea that was executed well, and very funnily too. Jake Head, amongst other characters, was a quirky Spaniard on the barista staff. His role as an exaggerated passionate Latin generated a lot of laughs from the audience. He contrasted hilariously with Eva Soans’ moody boredom, as Daisy. I loved the way she used her face to animate and differentiate her various roles. Chris White’s main character was the barista, Ginger - so bashful he is mute, his blushing and grimacing demonstrated the pain of social interaction. He was totally convincing in all of his roles, from a stereotypical coffee shop writer, to a painfully bored ‘youth of today’.

Dance and music were used at various intervals to entertain us. A spirited dance routine started off the performance, purposefully amateur in its effect. Head often brought out his guitar to perform to comic effect. This added further variety to the fast rally of scenes that we were taken through.

Stereotypical customers involved competitive yummy-mummies, extreme technophiles and even a bomb scare. There was a wider significance given to the value of the workers’ roles under their tyrannical boss played by Jess Clough, especially given the conclusion of the play. It was insightful, but not conceited. Each scene was linked to the next with the same theme tune used for the dance routine at the beginning. This kept up the momentum that the energy of each scene conveyed.

All decisions involved fresh directorial interpretation from Heather Morgan. I particularly liked the way they gave the illusion of babies at one point. It is a testament to the fact that a company doesn’t necessarily need to put on a large scale production in order to draw a successful response from the audience.

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