As a coffee-addicted person since a teen, this title immediately jumped out at me. I had a couple of extra cuppas during the day to prepare myself for this Fringe micro theatre show as well.
First up, the venue on the rooftop of the Alex Hotel is wonderful: unobstructed views all around, and with the show starting at 6.30pm it was perfect for sundown. Arrive early and head to the roof via the lift to grab a drink to soak in the view and fresh air.
The stage is nestled outside of a little room that was transformed into a reception and bar area, with some fairly basic seating, including the front row labelled “splash zone” (NB: a pity about the woman in the white dress who was front and centre!)
The play started out with 20-something leads Kate and Ruby ordering coffee and having some deep and meaningful discussions about their relationships. Kate is the more wild and free personality type with a carousel of short-term affairs whereas “Rubes” is the more conservative one, brimming with hope for her newfound love while ruing the last one (“don’t even say his name!” she cries). The third element in the play is the spunky male barista, who walks with a confident swagger and whose main means of communication is a simple provocative eyebrow raise.
The dialogue is punchy and playful, with the two leads getting the pitch for their characters just right. There’s a jump-cut element to the timeline of the friendship, with the storyline covering several years of meet-ups at the café. These sessions focus on Ruby trying to forget the last relationship disaster and fantasising about the next one, while Kate tells of her sexual exploits while she travels the world, with the conversation amping up between the two owing to the volume of coffee consumed during the show. The script does a great job of contrasting the two women’s approach to love and happiness through the snappy, contemporary dialogue, with the audience frequently in stitches.
F**k Decaf also features some great physical comedy, with a simple setup that makes use of the unique rooftop space and with lots and lots of cups of coffee, some of which ended up on the audience during some coffee-monster-like enthuiastic scarfing and the occasional coffee battle royale.
F**k Decaf is the perfect after-work show or date night destination for Fringe owing to the fun script, caffeinated performances and an amazing setting.