Sobriety on the Rocks Review

Performed by one woman at VAULT Festival, the different characters give us insight into their thoughts about the accident caused by one man’s drunk driving. It shows the cascading effect it has on the other characters.

Sobriety on the Rocks Review

Renee Buckland is compelling in her performance showing us the knock-on effects of one decision. Her movements, voice and pauses bring surrealism to this performance. Yet she brings realism, nothing is outlandish or too much in her performance and the emotions are raw as the play progresses. 

Richard, the drunk driver and a father, is in the hospital shrouded by white light. He’s involuntarily detoxing, selfish and self-aware that he doesn’t want help. All he can think about during his stay in the hospital is a drink, not about the woman who he paralysed.

Pink light shines on the mother coming to terms with what her husband did while orange light reveals Richard’s son. A young boy who accepts his father for who he is and comes to terms with how embarrassed he feels. Greenlight highlights the paramedic on the scene of the accident. Green is for healing and yet this paramedic doesn’t seem to heal. Her brother died due to drunk driving, his love for teenage mutant ninja turtles is all she has to hold on to. And we get a red light, no one speaks in red, rather we see a battle, it can’t be called a battle if the man doesn’t want to fight, between a man and alcohol. 

The switch between characters isn’t just done with lights but it’s done with a tap or smack on the actor’s body. Lights switch when she taps herself gently or aggressively. The rapid body movements before and after the tap highlight how every character has something to fight, an inner demon- whether it be the mother who can’t see her husband as her rock, the child who can’t have a normal life, the paramedic who doesn’t see the fairness in helping drunk drivers or the drunk man himself who is too selfish to do something about his problem. 

Ropes sit on the stage and each character is performed within it. The means to end the problem Richard is in his sight but he’s too selfish. He thinks about it once but he wants his wife and children. And in his selfishness, he knows that if they left him, he’ll drink himself to death. He acknowledges that his wife knows this and it’s the only reason she hasn’t left. 

The ropes sit at the end unused as Richard, self-aware, knows he will never change. And his family are left to pay the price in an unending cycle. 

Header Image Credit: Tad Kiwi Productions


Ayah Khan

Ayah Khan Voice Reviewer

Ayah is a physical geography graduate, currently studying international journalism masters. Her main interest is environmental journalism but she wants to deep dive into lifestyle type content and enjoy the lightheartedness that comes with it, especially if said content could be focused on zombies. She spends her free time reading and writing. And can’t wait to explore different forms of content writing!

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