Blackout

I’ll begin by noting that this particular viewing was unfortunately tarnished by a very inconsiderate audience, where both latecomers and six mid-show phone calls bombarded the five actors with distractions. Yet even in the face of such rudeness, the performers adapted well to this, with actress Houda Echouafni even parrying one ringtone with a well-timed pun on ‘shamefulness’. Given the particular constraints made on the cast, they all deserve commendation for their perseverance.

Blackout is a fast-paced collage of flashbacks that offers time for reflection on various facets of alcoholism.

Blackout comes with fair warning in its subject matter, where the title alone is enough preparation for an hour of material that is both amusing and devastating. Mark Jeary’s show is intercut with audio interviews from previous alcoholics that are addressed by the five on stage in their own unique fashion, where each actor regales the consequences of perpetuating an unhappy lifestyle through real accounts from alcoholics.

Fast-paced collages of flashbacks offer time for reflection on various facets of alcoholism, ranging from the mildly amusing antics of microwaving a soiled pair of trousers, to the tragedies of date-rape and domestic violence. In sixty minutes, the five actors are evenly distributed to give scope to different personalities and different understandings of an alcoholic who, as we know, is not simply the stereotypical old man cuddling a bottle of Buckfast, but comes in many shapes and sizes, and burdened by various demons.

Certainly, this production does not exclude the darker side of alcoholism and goes as far to demonstrate that the real struggle begins once you put down the bottle, where the challenge of recovery and potential relapse abound with genuine fears of changing oneself and the problems of sunk costs. It exposes honest uncertainties in Alcoholics Anonymous’ appeal to a higher power, where the cast all firmly agree that the road to recovery is not predicated upon the belief in a God, but in accepting responsibility for one's own life.

By the end, we are offered no full conclusion; the show is not wrapped up in a neat little bow, and lots of questions remain unanswered. But in the wake of Blackout’s entrenched inner-conflicts, one can come to expect there is no easy solution to the problems of alcoholism. It moves forward by assuring us that there is no ‘end’ to addiction, but there are methods of channelling it into better outlets; that having fun without alcohol is possible; and perhaps most important of all, you cannot change your nature, but you can change your perception of the world around you in how you react to it.

Reviews by Stuart Mckenzie

Mirth Meltdown @ 52 Canoes

A Pessimist's Guide to Being Happy

★★★★
The Stand’s New Town Theatre

Is God a Psychopath?

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

John Pendal: Monster

★★★★★
The Jazz Bar

The Katet Plays Stevie Wonder

★★★★
Scottish Poetry Library

Umbrella Man

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Blackouts were the worst. Blackouts made me forget… Thank God for blackouts.' Meet the woman who finds herself urinating off the top of the Scott Monument in Edinburgh. The man who nearly burns down a stranger’s kitchen. The mother who almost beats her son to death in a drunken rage. Blackout is the honest, brutal, uplifting and darkly comic story of alcoholics, and ultimately of their hope in recovery. Scripted entirely from interviews with recovering addicts, including the writer. 'Stories of euphoria, hedonism, recklessness... shaken and stirred... a lively if sobering evening' **** (Scotsman). 'Outstanding' ***** (LondonTheatre.co.uk). www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com

Most Popular See More

Only Fools and Horses - The Musical

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets