Johann Sebastian Bach’s Coffee Cantata presented by Australian Baroque is an absolute delight.
As a composer, Bach’s extensive catalogue is filled with wonderful but usually serious music. Somehow a couple of comedy pieces snuck through and we should be so grateful that Australian Baroque picked up on the Coffee Cantata, gave it their sparkling twist, and have brought it to FRINGE WORLD.
There is so much to like about this show. Bach’s music is glorious, the performers’ colourful Baroque-era costumes (with wacky wigs) are a visual treat, the musicians are universally superb (two violins, viola, cello, double bass, and two seventeenth-century instruments – a replica Italian harpsichord and a wooden Baroque flute), the singers (soprano and bass) also excel, and the performance is brought together by a suitably mischievous MC/narrator.
It is also an immersive show with the players roaming amongst the audience, all of whom have been provided with a delicious Yahava espresso martini (which comes with the ticket).
But more than all that, it is also the sheer joy of the performance which delights. All the musicians and singers are having a great time - their frequent smiles and laughter giving them away.
As far as the storyline goes, the Coffee Cantata features a gregarious young woman named Liesgen who likes her coffee (‘more delicious than a thousand kisses!’) but who has to battle her strait-laced father who strongly disapproves of her caffeine obsession. Without giving too much away, that leads to a lot of fun, and Liesgen’s facial expressions during these escapades are a hoot.
The original was written in German and the Australian Baroque team takes a few liberties with the translation, retaining the essence of the original while bringing in some amusing contemporary references.
I loved this show. What a shame the Coffee Cantata has such a short run at FRINGE WORLD. It is destined to captivate anyone who is privileged enough to see it.