Search icon

Coffee After Therapy review (Brighton Fringe)

[AD – PR*]


One of the most exciting parts of Fringe festivals is getting to see new musicals make their debut. On Saturday afternoon I had the opportunity to catch ‘Coffee After Therapy’ at ‘The Lantern Theatre’ as part of the Brighton Fringe, which is a collaboration between award-winning writer and composer Matthew Knowles and Anita Adams (director, choreographer and actor). Focusing on a recently single woman who has just come out of a lengthy relationship, the sung-through musical looks at the pain of breakups, the importance of accepting that you may need help and having the confidence to move on.

Coffee After Therapy featured in The Lantern Theatre's Brighton Fringe guide

Themes and sentiment

I appreciate the sentiment of the show, focusing on a ‘woman of a certain age’, who feels lost after her long term relationship breaks down and subsequently turns to therapy as a way to move forwards. Too often main characters are twenty-somethings, with their whole lives ahead of them. It is a refreshing concept, but for me the production lacks character development and depth in its current form.

We learn that the breakdown of the relationship has been a source of personal pain for the main character, forcing her to forget who she is and go through a difficult patch. The problem is we don’t actually learn much about her, and instead she just becomes a woman working in an office who is struggling to adapt to the new void in her life. We also learn that outside of money troubles, the relationship was relatively stable and simply had run its course, which means the faded love story doesn’t lend itself to a long running time.

Coffee After Therapy set at The Lantern Theatre, Brighton Fringe

Music and lyrics

The score has a classic musical theatre sound and the actors pour so much heart and soul into the musical performances. The harmonies are exquisite, showcasing the power of the soprano voices in combination with Timothy Allen’s soft piano skills. On the whole I largely enjoyed the score, but at times the tracks felt a little repetitive. The songs are thematically very similar and whilst this makes the production feel cohesive, there is a risk of it losing excitement. About halfway through I was aspiring for there to be more contrast in the musical numbers.

Cast performances

The company is exceptionally talented, particularly lead actor Anita Adams and Musical Director Timothy Allen. Despite my reservations about some of the songs, the actors poured plenty of personality into the music, most notably in ‘Men Lie, Women Believe’ and ‘One Day’. The amount of passion and conviction in these particular numbers gave me goosebumps.

Coffee After Therapy cast photograph | Brighton Fringe
© Matthew Knowles / Coffee After Therapy

It is sometimes unclear who the supporting characters are supposed to represent, initially appearing as strangers in the coffee shop and then becoming younger versions of the main character, as well as other roles. That being said, the supporting actors captivated attention, giving everything to their alternating parts.

The future of Coffee After Therapy

‘Coffee After Therapy’ has finished its run at Brighton Fringe now, having completed two performances at The Lantern @ ACT. In my opinion the narrative and score need some development, but the vocal performances, piano backing and cast performances were captivating.

Promotional photograph for Coffee After Therapy | Brighton Fringe
© Matthew Knowles / Coffee After Therapy

With a name like ‘Coffee After Therapy’ I was hoping for a more compelling story, where we really get to know the main character, their therapy journey and why this relationship has affected them so much. The musical doesn’t quite achieve this for me, but I look forward to hearing about its future life.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

Love Kat xxxx

*My ticket for Coffee After Therapy was gifted in exchange for an unbiased review.



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More theatre