Reviews: Blackout ****



16.20 Summerhall until 26th August

**** (4 Star)

Blackout is a play based around the lives of 5 people who have been affected by alcoholism and their downward spiral when fun nights out drinking all stops being just for fun. Scripted entirely from interviews with recovering addicts, including the writer. The stage setting is simple and each character’s part is interspersed with a recorded voice, presumably from live interviews.

The actors playing the recovering alcoholics really draw in the audience and you almost believe it’s their own experiences. For an extremely difficult, horrifying and heart wrenching subject there is an element of dark humour and there are moments where you cannot help but laugh or gasp.

What links the characters is their battle and journey to sobriety and being part of the somewhat controversial AA fellowship and the meaning of looking for whoever or whatever the ‘Higher Being’ is, as opposed to the original suggested structure of the organisation.

Alcohol Focus Scotland suggest that one-in-four people drink at hazardous or harmful levels and it is the third leading risk factor for death and disability after smoking and high blood pressure.

What makes this play extremely thought provoking is that these are everyday people not the image society portrays as an alcoholic.

Refreshingly honest, I truly admire the people who have shared their remarkable history with alcohol abuse and current struggles. If you have ever been affected in anyway by alcoholism whether it is yourself or someone you know, then this play will give you chills.

We are left under no illusion that alcoholism is an ongoing battle and there is no fairy-tale ending here, but what is highlighted is our perception of what society views as an alcoholic.

Susan Clark