Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl

A charming bit of monkey business, but this adventure ultimately lacks bite

theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl
Published 05 Aug 2016

A follow-up to last year’s show, Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl, this new, supposedly standalone ‘adventure’ sees Rebecca Perry’s winning creation Joanie Little leave her job as a barista to follow her dreams: interning with Jane Goodall - and a heap of chimpanzees - in Tanzania.

It’s a warm, gentle one-woman show with songs, telling of her pale-skinned struggles with heat and bugs and malaria tablets, of intern rivalries and playing match-maker to chimps. Performing all the characters herself—with an annoying piano tinkle to signify each and every switcheroo—it’s a busy bit of storytelling, and not especially sophisticated. There’s no attempt, for instance, to in any way evoke the cheeky chimpanzees that she so adores.

Perry’s performance as Joanie, an irrepressibly enthusiastic Canadian, is twinkly and bright as a string of fairylights, but the setup remains rather murky if you missed the initial instalment. What’s the significance of coffee – and who is the man Marco she leaves behind? If we don’t really know, we don’t really care if she returns to him or not. Even more problematically, making interning in Africa your story swerves dangerously close to ‘let me tell you all about my gap yah’ – an experience one would normally pay to avoid.

Little’s own full-throated songs and a few covers are used to up the emotional stakes, but these Adventures never really add up to more than a cheerful bit of monkey business.