Coffix, 7 Balance Street, Wellington

07/03/2019 - 21/03/2019

NZ Fringe Festival 2019

Production Details

Espresso, Long Black, Flat White, Latte, Cappuccino, single shot, double shot, one sugar, two sugars, more chocolate, less chocolate, extra hot, extra shot …

Welcome to the Coffee shop!

Performance about one barista girl and her world in an intimate space with the smell of coffee, dance and theatre comedy flavour.

Paja is from the Czech Republic.
She studied dance and nonverbal theatre at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague
She met a guy.
She fell deeply in love and one day she popped up in New Zealand!

More than one year in New Zealand.
One year experience as a barista in Coffix.
Still deeply in love … more or less.
Still fighting with language barriers … more or less.
Sometimes homesick … more or less.
Still making coffees … more than less.
It is gonna be about you as well! … more or less.
True story! … more or less.

See you soon!

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Coffix, 7 Balance Street
Thursday 07 – 21 March 2019
General Admission $5.00

Theatre , Solo , Dance-theatre ,

45 minutes (not on every day)

The thrill and immediacy of travel played off beautifully against the mundanity of a working life

Review by Barnaby Olson 08th Mar 2019

It feels bizarre to be heading down towards Lambton Quay to watch a piece of theatre. En route, as I pass the D4 upstairs bar, I overhear a balding suited man yell to his friends that “if they weren’t going to buy them at that price, then they had obviously come all this way to F*** around”. I’m heading to Coffix in Balance Street, a tiny coffee bar in the middle of Wellington’s central business district, to see Coffee Bean – Queen Machine, the work of traveller-artists Paja Neuhoferova and Daniel Dvoracek. Already, just by virtue of where I am, this show is differentiating itself from ‘standard’ Fringe fare.

As we enter Coffix, Paja is playing the accordion and Daniel is standing behind the bar taking our orders for coffee. I order a latte – pretty rock-and-roll for 7pm – and wait to see what will happen next. The casual intimacy of the setting is working wonders on our audience already: the two performers seem quietly at ease, and chatter and laughter is breaking out amongst the thirty strong crowd to a greater degree than I’m used to pre-show.

A visual prologue begins by Daniel playing on what looks to me like a large stick – the first of a variety of instruments that he plays throughout the show to understated effect. The prologue uses finger-puppets to tell us that two people, presumably Paja and Daniel, meet in Europe – I’m not close enough to the front to determine where exactly – and follow each other to New Zealand, where they take in the sights that Aotearoa has to offer.

Without wanting to give their tricks away, it’s enough to say that a tour of New Zealand becomes a tour of the coffee shop, as Paja uses Coffix’s architecture in a way that is gorgeously simple, and has the audience squealing in delight. 

From there, we move into our main event: the slightly surreal day-to day of a barista, complete with movement, trick entrances and, by my count, at least seven actual coffees made for audience members to enjoy. It’s surprisingly engaging to just watch Paja make coffee, which happens over the course of several ‘days’, each with a different soundtrack and energy.

We cut back and forth between actual coffee-making and the language of the prologue, which is used to pepper in moments from Paja and Daniel’s life. We see them whale-watching, fighting over their car that breaks down, and sailing on Wellington’s harbour.

The result is more than the sum of its parts. The show’s scale is small, it’s resourceful, and it plays off beautifully the thrill and immediacy of travel against the mundanity of a working life. Without doing much, it immediately seems to be inviting us to get curious about the people in our lives with whom we have numerous insignificant little interactions, and yet know nothing about.

Here again Coffee Bean – Queen Machine’s setting seems key; a coffee shop is the perfect transactional environment, and personally the people that work in them are often subconsciously reduced to the people that “give us our fix.” In broad brush strokes, and without inviting us to know them, Paja and Daniel seem to be challenging that notion, and allowing us a small window into the journey that brought them here to make me my latte. It’s personal but not really, and I’m a big fan.


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