Beans of Fury
by Matt Hertendy
50min / PG / Comedy / Puppet
Set in a dystopic future in which climate change has made all but the highest mountaintops uninhabitable, Beans of Fury tells the story of one new barista’s (Robin Star Breiche) journey to find the only remaining coffee bean stash on earth, thus saving the coffee shop and providing humanity with one final hit of its favourite dark liquid as life gasps its final breath. Meanwhile, a robot barista (Matt Hertendy) questions the purpose of his existence, discovers his own consciousness and lip syncs to Daft Punk.
And everything is made of used coffee cups. Even goats. There’s a lot to unpack in this one.
One half of Two Kind Boys Theatre, Matt Hertendy (Ride Shares and Rope Swings; Swedish Furniture) returns to Ottawa Fringe with a quick-witted, absurd and cerebral comedy about the end of the world and the greed that caused it. Or, if not greed, caffeine addiction.
Much of the comedy comes from the over-the-top robot baristas (Hertendy and Sheldon Parathundyil), whose mimicry of overcaffeinated, overworked coffee shop employees is remarkably sympathetic. The performances here are at times so bizarre that the actors had each other breaking on stage.
With one half of the planet under water, and the other on fire, there will still be Starbucks.
There’s good storytelling on display here, complete with twists and turns. The set and puppet work—again, all made used coffee cups, carafes, and boxes—work beautifully, and function to strengthen the satire at the core of the piece. With one half of the planet under water, and the other on fire, there will still be Starbucks.
In the end, holding onto our humanity means holding a cup of coffee. In a world destroyed by consumption, consumption is the one thing we will cling to most dearly.
Beans of Fury by Matt Hertendy is playing at ODD Box (2 Daly Ave) until Saturday June 22, 2019. Tickets cost $12 online (plus a $2 processing fee) and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.