Dub Actually, described as “a sober and drunk version of one night”, follows various characters on a night out that goes two ways. Ryan, a man who loves the drink despite the drink not loving him back, makes the decision to forgo alcohol for the night and in another telling of that same night out which leads to varying consequences, drink away his sorrows and most importantly, his social inhibitions.
Dub Actually is a skillfully crafted commentary on the dominance of alcohol on nights out in Ireland and how ingrained it is within our society that alcohol is needed to feel normal and to have a good time. Through the juxtaposition of the progression of both nights out it is easy to see the problematic, aggressive behaviour that becomes normalised under the influence of alcohol.
The play also highlights the nuances of the approaches men and women have to socialising with intent to end up with a potential romantic partner by the end of the night. These differences are embodied within the characters of John and Niamh; the former searching every nightclub and prayer group with desperation for The One whilst the latter takes on a more delicate, even guarded, approach to finding romance.
The dialogue, though witty, is always very natural perhaps to a fault as hearing the actors voices on stage is often quite difficult especially over the music playing from speakers during nightclub scenes. The lighting too makes no secret of the fact that this is a production finding its legs, with plenty of cues seemingly missed.
There is a subtle yet extremely effective humour used throughout which never feels overdone or forced. The characters and their interactions with one another are so natural and believable it’s impossible for the audience not to think that they have seen much of what is unfolding in front of them happen in front of their very eyes on a night out in Dublin’s fair city. This version of it is certainly something you will want to see for yourself.
Review by Annmarie Lally
Book your tickets for Dub Actually here.
It plays in the Sean O Casey Theatre until June 8th!