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Review: Ablutions @ Lichfield Garrick



In choosing to show this adaptation of Patrick Dewitt’s bleakly comic Ablutions, Lichfield Festival took quite a risk on an adaptation that is not all that well known.

With a four person cast of Eoin Slattery, Fiona Mikel, Harry Humberstone and composer and live musician Ben Osborn the group gave their all to a piece that the audience would have been largely unfamiliar with.

We see an unnamed bar-man, talking about his regulars, his marriage which is slowly deteriating, his addiction to aspirin, and his boss, fellow barman Simon, and how they cope with the essential ennui and boredom of their everyday lives. Having read the novel, the adaptation has had to jettison a lot of characters, some of the character arcs, and the less family friendly elements, to widen its appeal to a general audience.

As the bar-man Eoin Slattery gives a good performance, full of bravado and pathos, whilst Fiona Mikel plays all of the female characters with a rare talent, and the other characters, from the flashy Simon, to Curtis the local drug addict were all inhabited by Harry Humberstone. The music, which featured acoustic guitar, twangy electric guitar, and atmospheric lap steel guitar work was always fitting with the mood, but some variation would helped the score.

So, the piece needs some work, some editing, and a bit more definition in terms of the characters,and the musical themes, but as a play it more than held its own, and would be a good production if partnered with a similar length short play.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.