Thursday, August 09, 2012

Edinburgh 2012: Chapel Street

Luke Barnes' punchy, pacey two-hander - part of the Old Vic, New Voices new writing programme - is drenched in booze. It's beer-breathed and sweaty with it, slurring and fuzzy-tongued, as it explores a night of binge-drinking from two separate points of view.

Joe is an amiable twenty-something lad who still lives with his mum and seems accepting of a life of odd jobs and nights on the lash. Kirsty is a teenager, not without ambition, who goes on a bender to celebrate a friend's birthday, scoring some alcohol and hitting the town. The two stories are told as independent, cross-cutting monologues, which only collide towards the end. Both performers give convincing, driven performances, becoming increasingly more inebriated as the play progresses, no easy thing to convey.

Cary Crankson's Joe turns up the chat and Ria Zmitrowicz's Kirsty, motor-mouthed from the start, becomes even more voluble. The growing on-stage chaos of Cheryl Gallagher's production captures the trajectory of their epically messy night -“ microphone stands tumble to the ground, shaving foam spatters the floor and the actors end up skidding in their own spillings. But beneath the excess of their binge, the play has something to say about what it is to be stuck socially and economically, to see your ambitions slowly eroded, to see what hope you had slip slowly away.

Reviewed for The Stage.

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