- Gareth K Vile
- 29 August 2018
A journey into the terrors of alcoholism
The power and immediacy of this verbatim script – at least for the first three-quarters – comes from the emotional honesty of the content: beginning with the earliest experiences of a cheeky drink, and the pleasure it gave, it seamlessly moves through the stages of addiction exposing both the joys and horrors of heavy drinking, while recognising its consequences not just on the drinker but their families. Even handed and at times playful, the script is brought to life by the ensemble with the most minimal scenography and a rapid pace that expresses the urgency of the subject and the blurred experience of drinking itself.
The seduction of alcohol is clearly acknowledged, and the negatives: even the earliest benders have their undercurrent of emotional violence and chaos. The redemptive chapters, while optimistic and giving the characters something of a happy end, are less engaging. The importance of Alcoholic Anonymous is celebrated, but the script gets stuck on the justifications of its religious content. Given proportionally far too much attention, the confused explanations of how it isn't really about God are disappointing about the terse, and sometimes poetic, discussions of alcohol's effects.