Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Everyone has had it: the hangover from hell. The type where sleep is impossible, and reality seems like a distant concept through a fuzzy, hazy, nauseous existence. Danny is there now, suffering through. Unable to remember the events of the night before, he, with the help of a friend, slowly pieces together the puzzle that is his short-term memory. What really happened last night? Hilarious and light-hearted, this play soon escalades into a deep and surreal nightmare.
The scene is set: An unconscious body in an unmade bed, clothes thrown across a filthy floor, scattered between a sea of empty beer cans. A movement, a groan and the Danny is awoken, the fact he is being beaten over the head by a humanised “hangover” with a pillow may be a contributing factor to such a rude awakening. Remembering nothing of the night before, the twosome work together to fill the gaps in Danny’s memory. Slowly but surely, the consequences of having just one to many are revealed with a haunting, disturbing twist.
Danny, played by David Elliot is quite brilliant throughout: you really believe that he has the god-awful hangover. From his stance onstage, to the mumbles he can only just produce, to the retching, he is thoroughly believable and exceptionally well executed.
The piece is kicked off with a monologue spoken from an Author-God narrator, which nicely sets the scene and induces a couple of laughs. The set is basic and is used well throughout, a shower being created from a watering can and a screen is a nice and hilarious touch. It feels brilliantly low budget and is perfectly suited to the script: you feel as though you are sitting in a squat-like den that has been used and abused the night before.
The main problem with the piece is that the script isn’t particularly good: the whole thing could be much more originally dealt with. The concept of the play is that he is piecing together his memories to come to a disastrous conclusion, and setting it in real time works, but isn’t particularly interesting. There could have been flashbacks or an un linear timeframe to give it some edge. The writing itself is great: it is hilarious to begin with and then quite traumatic towards the end, with delightfully heart-wrenching monologues thrown in to boot, it’s just the structure could be a lot better, played around with, to make it a little bit more alternative.
Overall a good show. The dialogue and Elliot make it worth seeing but with a few changes, it could be a lot better.