“intervention” is a technical term for a family gathering
in the home of a serial boozer, designed by Alcoholics
Anonymous to shake the sozzled sinner out of his stupor
and into his senses on a path of rehabilitation.
alcoholic anti-hero of Dave Florez’s play for the
Comedians Theatre Company, led by a hirsute, glassy-eyed
Phil Nichol, is a chaotic bad boy, Zac, who has lost his
job as a teacher and his fiancée to his best mate, played
by a moustachioed Waen Shepherd of The
also got a hangover “the size of Oprah” which doesn’t help
deal with the concerted efforts of friends and family,
including Jan Ravens as his stuck-up, fed-up mother, and
a handful of transatlantic television stars I’ve never
heard of, to sort him out.
a small audience and an echoing acoustic in the unsuitable
ballroom at Assembly, I feared the worst. But the play
gathers momentum, and Nichol is very good at projecting a
ferocious, helpless anger about himself and his condition
that sounds both terrifying and authentic.
Chicago setting, though, is not at all convincing in
Maggie Inchley’s production. We could as easily have
been in Hendon or East Grinstead. Zac’s treatment schedule
has gone up the spout, which is a cue to rake over the
ashes of child abuse, erectile dysfunction, what’s wrong
with Palestine and where Zac’s stashed all his
isn’t killing him, he says; it’s keeping him alive. The
larger metaphor is that we all live with lies that help us
through the night, let alone the day-time chores, and Zac
has perceived this deeper truth through the blurred fog of
his own self-deception. There are no easy answers, he
reckons, and no final solution.