Just when I thought I’d reached a peak in terms of 5 star performances this Fringe, Australian Baroque’s Coffee Cantata completely blew me away tonight. All the way to Swan Valley, in fact, for one of the most delightfully captivating evenings I’ve ever experienced during Fringe.
Depicting the rise of the German Coffee House in the 18th century and the addiction to coffee that followed, Australian Baroque serves up Bach’s Coffee Cantata like never before. It’s a glorious feast for the senses in so many regards. I absolutely adored every single second of this comic opera.
Rest assured, I’m not going to go into too many specifics here or give you a play by play of the proceedings. If you are new to the art form of comic opera or Bach’s Coffee Cantata in particular, I feel you are better placed to discover this delight in the moment. You’re in more than capable hands with Australian Baroque leading the way.
Setting the Scene
The location of tonight’s performance, inside Yahava Koffeeworks in West Swan couldn’t have been more apt. The aroma of freshly ground coffee greeted us at the door followed very closely by an espresso martini once inside.
As we took our seats, marvelling at the instruments lying in wait amongst the industrial scale coffee roaster paraphernalia, there’s an element of anticipation in the air. Inhaling the ambience while sipping cocktails, there’s a glimpse of some of the colourful characters and their elaborate costumes waiting in the wings.
It’s this visual that momentarily takes me back to our time living in Sydney when we first started dating (yes… back in the dark ages). My work at that time sponsored the arts in a big way. We would often find ourselves at the Opera House, as well as quirky little venues for live performances. It was a fun and fabulous time. There were a number of standout performances back then but nothing as full bodied as this.
Music to My Eyes
As the comic opera unfolds around us, it’s the added sensory elements of smell and taste together with the utter decadence and delight delivered to both the eyes and ears that makes this an incredibly intoxicating experience. Having said that, even without the added elements provided by this unique location, this is a standout show based on world-class talent alone. Each performer more than holds their own. As a collaborative, these fully fledged professionals deliver a 5 star work of art.
The more modern references, that are brilliantly woven into play, not only make this classic more comical but also more engaging. No matter where you sit when it comes to comic opera, or coffee for that matter, you are going to love this performance.
Personally, I’d dearly love a repeat performance but with the entire audience in full costume. Immersing the room in the frivolity even more so. I momentarily tried (and failed) to capture a photo of the full and colourful extent of the ensemble to share with you but honestly, I was too caught up savouring every moment to concern myself with photos.
Make it a double shot!
You really need to see this show for yourself. There are two venue options to choose from. Both with short runs and limited capacity regulations. I strongly suggest securing tickets while you still can.
I can highly recommend making the trip to the Swan Valley for what I can only assume is a more full bodied experience, given the venue and your espresso martini on arrival. The evening shows here are not for minors (although there were two in the audience tonight). Whereas, the 11am session on Sunday (31 January ) at The Glass Box is served with coffee and cake which makes it more family friendly. If you are keen to introduce your little (or big) ones to new experiences, comic opera and Australian Baroque’s Coffee Cantata, in particular, are fabulous places to start.
Yahava Koffeeworks, 4752 West Swan Rd, West Swan
Friday 29 and Saturday 30 January
The Glass Box, 505 Newcastle St West Perth
Sunday 31 January
Tickets available HERE