Review

Frank, familiar and funny

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Fringe World review: The Cutting Room Floor, F**k Decaf · 
Rooftop at Alex Hotel, 24 January ·
Review by Claire Trolio ·

Imagine you’re in a café. Any Perth café will do, but your local is perfect. You are sipping on your latte whilst reading the paper and two women in their mid-twenties arrive at the table next to you. You overhear snippets of conversation and before you know it, you’re invested in the minutiae of these strangers’ lives: the details of their weekend exploits, failed romances, job prospects, even their pets. F**k Decaf is people-watching… and it’s completely appropriate to stare.

Written by Tyler Jacob Jones and directed by Scott Corbett, F** Decaf is a local production and, in true Fringe style, it takes place in an unlikely venue – the rooftop of the Alex Hotel under the early evening sun. Commanding views over Northbridge and welcoming, informal vibes encourage punters to relax and enjoy a glass of rosé before the action starts.

And action there is. Beware the (well labelled) splash zone as coffee and cake explode from the stage.

But more than anything, F**k Decaf is about the dialogue. We are given a window into the lives of old friends Ruby (Amanda Watson) and Kate (Ann-Marie Biagioni) over several years of coffee catch-ups, watching as they grow up, evolve (or not), move apart and back together, share experiences and offer advice. Whilst the opening five minutes of last night’s show – the first in their short season – felt overplayed, Watson and Biagioni settled into their roles quickly. They offered honest, brutal performances for what was a truly entertaining hour.

The dialogue is authentic and familiar. We’ve all heard it – most likely we’ve said more than a few of those lines ourselves. It’s laugh-out-loud funny because it’s true… for the most part. F**k Decaf does derail in a caffeine-fuelled frenzy but it’s in the frank conversations that the charm of this show lies. I wanted more talk and less action but, like eavesdropping on an adjacent table at a café, you have to take what you can get.

F**k Decaf plays until February 2.

Pictured top: A 2015 production of F**k Decaf at Street Theatre Canberra. 

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