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Adelaide Fringe 2015

F**k Decaf

The Cutting Room Floor

Genre: Mainstream Theatre

Venue: Nano Café – 23 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide


Low Down

Ruby and Kate are best friends with completely contrasting personalities. Their addiction to caffeine fuels a myriad of emotions that sees them through a decade of boyfriends, lovers, bad decisions, and hilarity before they come to their senses and realise that they need to curb their addiction.


The entire story is set in a café where best friends Ruby and Kate frequently catch up—a scene that is all too familiar to anyone who has relished a hot cup of coffee served with a generous dose of gossip with their friend. From the opening lines of the dialogue the audience is immediately aware of the differences between the two characters. Ruby is a free spirit about to embark on an adventure around the world, while Kate is debating the pros and cons of leaving her dreary, yet stable job for a photographer’s assistant position that will see her working long hours and weekends, something her boyfriend is against. The conversation becomes heated and the caffeine intensifies the tension between the two friends. Both leave with a bitter taste in their mouths that may or may not have had something to do with gulping down hot coffee in one hit.

Fast forward two years, they’re back at the café and filling in each other on their lives—but the conversation is awkward and stilted because so much has changed and inevitably the caffeine results in more anger and primitive behaviour that includes throwing coffee at each other and shouting profanities. Like the setting, the dialogue is also familiar to many as it deals with timeless issues, and the juxtaposition and ever-changing characteristics between the two characters is interesting to watch. Amanda Watson and Ann-Marie Biagioni who play the characters of Kate and Ruby do an excellent job responding and reacting to each other as well as (literally) taking the performance beyond the confines of the Nano Café.  

Although the ending was unsound the direction was excellent and the use of the café bell as a signifier for passing time was clever. There were scenes that were perhaps over the top as the two characters frantically consumed as much caffeine as they possibly could before descending into madness but Watson and Biagioni stayed in character throughout the show and never faltered.

The audience was entertained and responded appropriately to the performance, but audience members in the back rows were at a disadvantage at this particular venue as there was no stage or platform area where everything could be seen clearly. It was also impractical for any sound or lighting effects that may have enhanced or consolidated the passing of time or development in characters. However, it was an entertaining evening and the audience left smiling and chuckling at some of the more memorable quips and lines from the show.