Assembly @ George Street
6-30 August, 15.20
Adapted from a novel by Ron Butlin, this play tackles the idea of alcoholism amongst the respectable suburban middle class.
We encounter Morris (played by Billy Mack), a skilled and wealthy company director, whose dependence of alcohol escalates during the one-week time-span. We watch as his life slowly begins to deteriorate as he struggles to conceal his copious drinking – before his wife and young daughter awaken, and during office hours from a bottle of brandy concealed in his filing cabinet.
The result is a terrifying insight into the prim closed-door world of suburbia. The mirrored set and small, intimate theatre pull us into his confusing world, where we lose all sense of our bearings. What’s more, the play manages to expose the extent and dangers of alcoholism without once sounding preachy or condescending.
While Mack’s descent into insanity was gripping, at times his rants felt a little overacted and melodramatic, preventing any sense of real empathy. This was compounded by what I felt to be shortcomings of the script; the characters referred to themselves in the third person and addressed the audience rather than each other. While this did mean that you gained an increased sense of the characters being completely out-of-control, I felt this to be disengaging and at times grating. Perhaps it may have been more effective in a shorter performance. However, it was still an engaging play and was, for the most part, superbly acted.