Hangover

A man lies passed out in his bed, surrounded by discarded cigarette packets and empty bottles. His name is Daniel and he is being harassed by the personification of his hangover. But as the events of last night begin to come out, things take a turn for the worse.This is a sobering and thoughtful hour of theatre. The writer, David Elliot, plays the main character, Daniel. The performance is remarkable for its intensity. As the play goes on it’s clear that his mind is destroying itself, leaving a shell of a man whose insides are the remnants of the lager he drinks on stage, his late night kebab and his complete inability to appreciate how his actions have consequences. Despite his irresponsibility, Elliot keeps Daniel likable; we want to see him come out of this play all right. Stuart Nicoll’s anthropomorphised Hangover is wonderfully realised. He is a vengeful and vindictive conscience played with the perfect mixture of violent contempt and wryly observed wit. It’s a bravura performance that carries this show and always keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.My issue with Hangover is the writing. On the one hand, it’s a darkly, darkly comic play. The humour comes from a very true and tragic place that means the audience laughs with the cold dread of recognition rather than actual hilarity. And the shift in tone from comedy to a critical piece of social commentary is subtle and well-handled. But, at the same time, the beat transitions are heavily anecdotal (“Remember that time when…?”) and Daniel’s everyman characteristics are worn down by the number of things in his past that tick the boxes: abusive fathers, broken families, divorce etc. These things are offered up as ‘believable’ reasons for Daniel’s alcoholism, but the audience doesn’t need to hear them. They are carried along by the ingenuity of the piece and prepared to accept Daniel’s alcoholism as a construct for the show to make its points. And as Nicoll’s Hangover becomes more aggressive, the show becomes very one-sided, losing some of its earlier complexity.These are minor criticisms. Hangover is a brilliantly realised, desperate plea for common sense wrapped in a heartfelt story of one man’s ability to self-destruct. This is a brutally honest, nakedly critical and darkly intelligent production that will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.

Since you’re here…

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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.
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The Blurb

'Just because you can't remember, doesn't mean it never happened. ' The hangover to end all hangovers. Riddled with paranoia over last night's drunken escapades, Danny's mind develops an imaginary character who unravels the evening he would rather forget ... www.hangovertheplay.com

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