‘The Drunken City’ premiered in New York City in 2008, receiving an Outer Critics nomination for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play – and I can see why. Adam Bock has written a hilarious and thought-provoking contemporary piece, and I would highly recommend this production.
The play centres around three excitable best friends who have all recently got engaged (although unfortunately for some, the engagement does not last very long!). As part of the hen party for one of them, the three head into the city for a “night to end all nights”.
At some point after everyone has got more than a little tipsy, the girls bump into handsome stranger Frank and his hilarious and loveable friend Eddie. Bride-to-be Marnie and Frank not only hit it off, but actually run off – leaving their friends to search for them in earnest. Whilst they are away from the others, Marnie opens up to Frank and soon she is questioning everything in her life and whether she wants to get married at all. The issues being tackled are both interesting and serious, but as an audience we were kept laughing throughout.
There were a lot of fantastic performances in this show which are well-worth seeing. But for me, Michael Walters (playing Eddie) really filled the stage and helped take the comedy in this play to the next level. His expressions had me in stitches and he is also a fantastic mover! Of the girls, I most enjoyed Kristina Epenetos (playing Linda). She was brilliantly exuberant on stage and I also enjoyed her acapella song near the end. She has a beautifully soft voice when she sings, and it was nice to have something to break up the piece a little.
As a newly engaged woman myself, I found the play particularly intriguing. I liked that the different characters take different approaches to love and relationships, and that by the end they are starting to learn a little something from each other. I also enjoyed the fact that not everything was wrapped up neatly by the end – for me, it emphasised the fact that relationships are messy, ongoing and far from straightforward.
It was also interesting to see different perspectives clash. For example, Melissa was upset that her ex-fiancé has let her down – so when she sees Marnie about to do the same to her respective partner, she can’t help but take it personally and become angry with her. Yet at the same time, the audience sees that Marnie is right to question her actions and motives.
‘The Drunken City’ worked perfectly as a one act play and I would see it again.
Reviewed by Rachel Callaghan @WIAAProductions