City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Alchemystorium Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 17 August 2011

The Alchemystorium
Show details
Bedlam Theatre
Gomito Productions
Running time: 
Amelia Bird (director/designer), Sam Worboys (producer), Phillipa Herrick (composer), Simon Wilkinson (lighting designer)
Katie Cooper, Lizzie Franks, Sam Worboys (ensemble)

There may be a coffee shop on every corner, but none are like The Alchemystorium Café. You see, there the mocha is magic. No, really – and the cappuccino charmed and the latte a love potion.

This mystic café is unpacked by its trio of unlikely baristas, expanding from a crate into a long counter, cluttered with the tools of their trade. The simple but clever set swirls round to become not just café but also the compartments where they sleep.

Business at first seems a little slow but then they hit on the extra ingredient. Each coffee comes with a Polaroid-type ‘photo, and by matchmaking this with a rag-doll puppet the customer can summon up an instant date.

All should be well, but the two employees fight like naughty children – or they do until they sample their own black medicine. Then things become a little steamy, to the discomfort of the manager who is left to act out her own wistful romantic fantasies. It looks like something has got to give as they all plan to make changes for the greater good.  But perhaps in the dregs there is just one last sip of magic?

It’s all great, frothy fun as the cast cavort around miming the wordless story with no more than gestural noises. There are lots of laughs to be had from some great visual theatre and the story manages to be sweet without being saccharine. Philippa Herrick’s music keeps the whole thing on the move and the nostalgic romantic classics just add a cherry on top.

It does take a little time to warm up and the focus of the manager’s love interest could be a little clearer but the alchemy works and, if not perhaps solid gold, it’s certainly something rather precious.

Show times: 15-27 August 2011 4.30pm 

Ticket prices: £8.00 (£6.00)