A brand-new musical gets its first outing at Bognor’s Alexandra Theatre with the launch of BARISTA!
The show has taken Findon composer Nigel Newman five years in the writing, and now, after finalising the script with his wife Anna, they have taken the decision to go straight into a full-scale production at the venue, on Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9.
The backdrop to the show is the phenomenon of modern-day coffee shop culture – the starting point for an intriguing story of love, friendship and ambition, told to a western and Latin American fusion of music and dance.
Andy, a passionate and idealistic young café owner, has a burning desire to expand his business. However his enthusiasm and vanity lead him to compromise his most deeply-held values.
Playing the lead Isabella in the production is Katie Newman, co-lyricist and daughter of composer Nigel.
As Katie says, the result is a thought-provoking reflection on society today and its obsession with material success.
“The inspiration really came from the fact that my dad works in London every day, and it is about the time when all the new coffee shops were opening. There was this sudden massive boom in coffee shops. It was no longer about just grabbing a cup of coffee. It was about how you were going to choose and what you were going to choose, and there are suddenly lots of weird choices, things like a skinny flat Americano with extra cinnamon or whatever!
“And it became quite comical really. And that’s the inspiration for the show. You can’t just get a coffee on a Monday morning on your way into work. You have got to go through this comedy of all these different choices.
“The show is based around this guy Andy that creates a new coffee shop and is wanting to expand it into the whole coffee shop world, wanting to create his own brand. His dream is to create a worldwide brand. But his problem is that he is very naïve. He is not thinking around him. He is in his own little bubble. He is very kind and very thoughtful and he knows his customers and they really believe in him. But he is naïve. To pursue his dream, he ends up borrowing money from people he shouldn’t borrow from and he doesn’t have the experience to recognise that. Unfortunately, he is just too excited about it all. It reflects our society in which perhaps young people are not taught enough about finances.
“But part of his charm is his naivety. The audience are going to really like him. His charm means that they will want his dream to happen. The fact that he is naïve is what will keep people liking him.
“I am playing Isabella. She works for Andy in his current café but her background is that she is from Colombia. She grew up there, and what happens in the show is that we jump back to her childhood. You can see how she grew up and how dangerous and scary it was. She creates the link with the person that Andy borrows the money from…”
The piece is a musical, with plenty of humour, great songs and the ability to provoke a few thoughts, Katie says.
As for the premiere, as Katie says, there is a lot to take into account. Her father and step mum Anna were wanting to get the right venue, one not too large, but also wanting to start with a proper full-scale production. Bognor Regis seemed the perfect place to launch the show. Tickets £12.50 on 01243 861010 or at alexandratheatre.co.uk.
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