Rebecca Perry’s one-woman show Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl, directed by Michael Rubinstein, opens with song: Rivers and roads / Rivers and roads / Rivers till I meet you… The Hand and the Heart’s catchy, almost melancholy song is a fitting start for our journey with Joanie Little, 20-something barista and self-described social anthropologist, as she observes co-workers and patrons in the jungle of an urban coffeeshop (in this case, the Annex neighbourhood in Toronto).
Accompanied by Noel Thomson on acoustic guitar and vocals, weaving songs, coffeeshop characters and stories, Joanie tries to make sense of life and love, all while navigating the “real” world after graduation, as she searches for connection and self.
Inspired by true experiences, Perry delivers a performance that is funny, touching and self-deprecating, giving us a Joanie that is sassy, wry-witted and irreverent – and also lost, longing and optimistic. The highlight of Joanie’s workday is her daily encounter with the flirty and somewhat mysterious customer Marco, who provides her with moral support and life advice via notes in the tip jar (one of three that Joanie labels each day to make it fun for the customers and add insight to her social research).
The play ends as it began, with the song “Rivers and Roads,” but Joanie is not in the same place she started. The “you” she’s been longing to meet is herself – and the journey continues.
This Toronto premiere of Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl closes at the Storefront Theatre today (Sun, June 16) and moves into the Fringe circuit, playing Winnipeg Fringe July 17-28 and Edmonton August 15-25.