San Francisco Fringe 2016
“How do introverts in the modern age connect and form a relationship? In the case of this geeky pair, meeting someone is just the first in a series of humorous hurdles. Expressing their thoughts mostly through songs to the audience, we follow their romance in the age of social media and really expensive coffee.”
This new musical show is gently told through songs and dialogue between two young people who pass each other daily. Each manages to notice the other during the few times they lift their eyes from their cell phones when they buy coffee in a small café. Dan and Leah look like typical twenty somethings, dressed in casual clothes – he looks like he works in IT with his light blue shirt and beige pants. The words in the songs tell what each is thinking about their own lives and the lives of others in the café.
Dan, played by Eddie Hargreaves is sweet and shy. He sings well, embodying the character with a compelling and realistic innocence and under dog feel about him. His discrete glances and inner monologue are fascinating as they move the story forward. Leah played by Anna Chase has a full, beautiful voice and sings her more complex songs well, her character is confident in her singing and her voice reaches operatically far, although Leah is often much less confident in intention. The pair act well together as the story unfolds through realistic dialogue and songs – with several visits to the café. The acting style is refreshingly understated for a musical show allowing room for sensitive moments between the characters, as they get to know each other.
An interesting element of the music is that the compositions are in a variety of styles, such as a tango style, when then incorporate a short dance sequence and a western style song that Dan sings with a twang. The story includes mentions of contemporary interest such as apps, marketing and social media, but this new musical is mainly about the two people. The scenes are clever, cute, and laced with witty sarcasm, so it’s not always predictable – plus there are several interesting and well times awkward pauses, that speak volumes.
Each of the numerous scenes is followed by a brief blackout with different amounts of imaginary time passing in between the scenes. There is another character in the play – every time the characters need coffee, a silent character pops out to serve them very efficiently!
My Favorite Café is written, composed and directed by Rob Chase. This show is worth developing more because of the topic and freshness in which the story is told. It’s recommended for coffee and musical theatre lovers!