Theatre Review: Drinking in America

Liam O’ Brian tries on many different hats in this production, not only as the artistic director for Bottom Dog Theatre productions, but as eleven different characters throughout the play, ‘Drinking in America.’

The play captivated the audience as we were given a glimpse into the lives of eleven very different American’s. O’ Brian transformed with ease between accents, gestures and physicality’s to capture the essence of each role, utilizing speedy wardrobe changes and the holding of various alcohols and drugs for each character.

The essence of the play showed the detrimental effect alcohol has on the human condition regardless of your position in society. The characters varied in religion, nationality and financial stability, ranging from a show-biz hustler to a homeless Irish man. In a humbling way Bottom Dog Theatre captured a taste of humanity through Eric Bogosian’s play by the characters becoming unified by revealing their flaws.

It is no surprise that Bottom Dog Theatre was inspired by the rise of Donald Trump as a driving force in dusting off this 1980’s text from the shelves and breathing a new life into it.

Director Patrick J. Byrnes used the Republican candidate’s image and catch phrases, and mirrored them into the character of the preacher. Declaring his hatred of the devil and a strong will to “make America great again!”

The lighting emphasised the speech by painting the stage in a spray of red, white and blue. The Musician Steve Ryan positioned on stage warped music and sound around O’ Brian effortlessly, transforming the stage from one state to another; emotionally and geographically.

‘Drinking in America’was remarkable. The show left a lasting impression that much of the human journey is determined by the “fried egg experiment” – that is that you don’t know what side you will be flipped on, whether you will be sunny side up or scrambled”


Grace Byrne

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