Ablutions

Adapted from the novel by Patrick Dewitt

Fellswoop Theatre

Assembly Roxy

From 30 July 2014 to 25 August 2014

Rating: ****

Review by Amy Yorston

Adapted from the novel by Patrick Dewitt, Ablutions is a dark tale of a man drinking himself to oblivion with brief moments of absolute clarity and many moments of despair.

Staged without props or scenery it relies on a rich script and haunting live music which has been devised by the cast.

The melancholy tone will not suit all but the execution of this piece is flawless as the three musicians swap in and out of characters whilst the hapless barman describes his monotonous existence. He could escape of course and he certainly flirts with the idea but his drinking and need for cash ties him to the bar job that is creating all of his problems.

With mime, some beautifully grotesque supporting characters and simple but effective lighting the plot becomes hazy as the barman swallows back ‘the big white pills’ that mellow him and suffers the crippling hangovers that scare him.

The band are in turn creepy and supportive and their discordant sound effects when his high is fading are both comical and sinister.

It’s not all doom, there are some well-paced injections of humour, which even the barman can appreciate as he evaluates his own life, but the overall mood is murky and the scenes a kaleidoscope of fragmented relationships.

Intriguing in its structure this is a fascinating fusion of music and theatre from a company with a clear style of their own.