Review – Can’t Stop Theatre Company, University of Northampton Flash Festival, St Peter’s Church, Northampton, 24th May 2017

Benjamin SullivanIt’s a little odd to be reviewing a piece that doesn’t actually have a name (although this isn’t the only Flash Festival show this year to be nameless!) so I can only refer to it as the one-man-show by Can’t Stop Theatre Company, also known as Ben Sullivan. Alcoholism is both a social problem and an illness that can have far-reaching consequences not only on the alcoholic themselves, but their family and friends too. This simply structured, elegantly written piece introduces us to three men, each of whom is suffering as a result of alcoholism. The first is the distraught and broken son of alcoholic parents; the second an affable posh guy who can’t perform the simplest tasks without being fully topped up; the third an Irish lad who’s tried to give up and failed, and is losing everything as a consequence.

BeerThese three monologues from the heart really moved me. Ben Sullivan made a strong connection with the audience – he made you feel as though he was confiding directly in you and only in you. His three characterisations were all excellent; his Irish accent for the third character was constant and convincing, as was the deceptive brightness of the posh guy, humorously nipping on and off the stage as he retraces his steps to the off-licence. The utter sadness of the son character was harrowing. Terrific clarity of delivery too; I heard and could appreciate every word, and the three stories were all told at an excellent pace, fluidly, and I believed each one of the characters. Despite the obvious sadness of the subject, I really enjoyed this performance; it’s one of those experiences that linger on in your mind for days afterwards. Very impressed indeed, and I’d now say that Mr Sullivan is One To Watch!

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