Set in a bar, ‘Drunk’ is made up of a series of set pieces by seven dancers named after alcoholic drinks who glide, stretch and swing through the throes of Bacchic passion to the nifty tunes of a live jazz band.
The choreography is hugely inventive, at times witty, sexy and above all full of energy. The dancers switch effortlessly from tango through merengue to acrobatic jazz moves that roar out boisterously from the stage and leave the audience feeling ready to cartwheel out of the auditorium. Threaded though this is the story of a woman – played by Gemma Sutton – who sits at the bar munching nuts waiting for a date, musing on her past loves. She moves in and out of the choreography of the dance troupe as her story is told.
The dancing is top notch and a real pleasure to watch. The band alongside is also sharp and invigorating and together they captivate our interest. What does not seem so well integrated is the narrative, such as there is one; and while Sutton is an engaging performer with a moving voice, by the end of the show the storyline and her character are lost in the swirls and dives of the rest of the dance group. This is not helped by lyrics that do not give much depth to her character, though they carry well through the music.
It is impossible to walk away from this production not feeling invigorated and joyful, especially on a damp mid-February night. Yet, this felt much more like an amazing evening of dance and live music than a dance piece which is melded into musical theatre, as is the director’s – Drew McOnie’s – aim, though all the elements are there for his work to grow in the future.