HomeTheatreREVIEW: The Finest Cafe within the World (Basement Theatre)

REVIEW: The Finest Cafe within the World (Basement Theatre)


Caffeinated Zombies 

Set within the titular Finest Cafe within the World after a zombie apocalypse, this story centres round cafe proprietor Jayden (Jehangir Homavazir), and his associates Sahil (Mo Nasir) and Gabby (Celine Dam).

Jayden has massive plans to make the cafe a communal area the place folks can chill out from the nightmare exterior.

Hassle arises when information arrives of a brand new horde heading for the cafe. With time operating out, Jayden has to choose – keep to safeguard his dream or escape and reside.

The Basement Theatre is a spot for authentic ideas and large swings.

Written and directed by Daniel Nisbet, Finest Cafe In The World is the definition of an enormous swing. It doesn’t totally succeed at its objectives, however there’s an enthusiasm and a way of scope that’s admirable.

Natasha Iyer’s cafe set fills the centre of the stage, marked by the central kiosk with espresso machine and varied items of mise-en-scene. It’s a well-realised piece of labor, creating a way of intimacy and verisimilitude.

Stage proper, a desk with recording gear represents the small station the place a couple of hardy presenters (Karishma Grebneff and Bala Murali Shingade) proceed a semblance of their career. 

The present’s story has good bones, and the characters all have comprehensible motivations. 

However the present complicates its narrative with flashbacks to Jayden’s relationship with authentic proprietor Zoe (Grebneff), and cutaways to the information group. 

Isabelle Hoskyn’s lighting methods guarantee these scene transitions are comparatively seamless, however it begins to really feel like there are a couple of too many concepts getting in the way in which of the central story. 

Initially these sequences really feel like methods of delivering exposition in a extra dynamic means and offering emotional weight – the primary flashback provides a pathos to Jayden’s actions within the current – however the play retains re-using these gadgets, interrupting the stream of the primary a part of the present.

Because it progresses, the present started to really feel unfocused and the usage of these gadgets felt unsuited to the medium. Their repetition was extra harking back to a movie or a TV present, the place these sequences may have been built-in by way of modifying.

As soon as the cafe is threatened by a wave of zombies, the stakes enhance and the characters are compelled into real battle. That is additionally the purpose when the present begins to really feel extra like a stage present, as the main focus is on the central characters and their differing responses to the approaching onslaught. 

There may be an attention-grabbing theme operating by way of the present – relatively than the social anxieties zombies often embody, the undead right here really feel like a metaphor for Jayden’s obsession for preserving his finest cafe dream (and subsequently the reminiscence of his misplaced love). Just like the zombies, this dream refuses to die – and threatens everybody he loves.

There are good concepts right here, and the solid are recreation (Shingade will get the largest laughs because the minimalist buyer Brett), however the script feels prefer it wants one other draft to tighten it up. 

The Finest Cafe within the World performs Basement Theatre 19-23 July, 2022. 

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