Liz Searle spends an evening at Drunken Nights IV
November 22, 2015
Drunken Nights IV was billed as “six short performances from early career artists”, which sounded promising, along with the prospect of it featuring dance, being signed (British Sign Language interpreters) and of course, taking place in a pub. Being free, with no booking required, also made it even more accessible and inviting.
The first act I saw was Drunken Chorus, which involved a rousing audience singalong of Wild Rover (with its famous chorus, often shouted by drunk folks, of “And it’s no way never, no way never no more”…yeah, thought you’d recognise it) supported by a group of audience volunteers as backing singers, stamping, clapping and struggling to see anything through their animal masks. This surreal and delightful start set the tone for the show.
Crystal Vision, the starry-eyed poet alter ego of Charlotte Berry, danced onstage and spun breathless lines of magic and sharply knowing fortune-telling, confusing, amusing, and bewitching us by turn.
Next was the special performance: Drunken Chorus’s supported artist Lydia Cottrell who, in the guise of a young lass on the razz, performed beautiful balances on top of a pub table, interspersed with ingesting blue WKD, shots, and takeaway chips. Perfectly construed, this act was hilarious and touching as it showed the beauty of normal women, getting pissed and showing off on a night out.
A more serious note was injected by the next piece-a drama set in a pub, performed by a woman who suspected her husband of wanting to poison her. Touching on themes of domestic abuse and jealousy, it was a dark and twisted tale told in a very believable way. Anarchy followed, with the compere’s remake of a famous Eastenders scene, involving more audience participation–this time blessed by a young woman whose pitch perfect Dirty Den impression was surprising, but wonderful.
The next two acts were my favourites, combining art, dance, and more singing. Lascelles Dance’s piece on pregnancy was thought provoking but, more importantly, hilarious–two women weighing up motherhood while having a night out with friends featured live drinking, excellent contemporary dance, and a rain of condoms being thrown into the audience.
Garry Cook and Claire Doyle’s unique photography exhibition with a difference was also fantastic. Cook sang two pop songs, with altered lyrics, accompanying Doyle’s pictures. An intense look at close up portraits of local nightlife, then a musing on the media’s occupation with breasts and a horror of breastfeeding in public but a simultaneous Page Three mentality, made this very sharply observed and exciting.
All of the acts made us think as much as we laughed–a great feat and a great Drunken Nights out.
8pm Thursday 10th March 2016 @ The Devonshire Cat