Review: Ablutions

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DOWN in the pits of LA, a down at heel bar man goes to work and sees the same regulars slowly descend into their drunken state.

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It’s this which ignites the barman’s narrative of his monotonous life cycle and the people who hang around him in his dead-end job.

Based on Patrick deWitt’s 2009 short novel, Ablutions is the story of one man’s struggle with addiction, divorce and trying to break free from his tedious life.

Devised by Fellswoop Theatre, the merit with the piece comes from their desire to explore the relationship between live music and the stage.

With no sets or props, the cast share playing instruments and create the outlandish and repulsive characters that pass through the bar’s door.

They do well at setting the tone of scenes and injecting that sense of place. Fiona Mikel and Harry Humberstone do inhabit some interesting and colourful characters. Eoin Slattery also has a good grasp of driving the plot along and accurately portraying the daily struggle of alcohol and drug abuse.

But the story is also this production’s downfall. While deWitt’s novel is celebrated for its sketch-based storytelling, seeing it on stage leaves you wondering when exactly the punchline will hit you.

Until 25 August