Fringe: A fascinating dilemma in this gripping play

Marcus Brigstocke, former alcoholic, writer and director of The Red, has done a very good job with this play.

The actors Bruce and Sam Alexander are father and son and play father and son in The Red. Benedict (Sam Alexander) is a former teenage alcoholic hasn’t touched a drop for 20 years.

On the death of his father, Benedict is bequeathed a bottle of exquisite wine.

There follows superb dialogue between dead father and son about the beauty, ceremony and pleasure of wine drinking thereby setting the scene for the temptation.

Will Benedict be tempted to drink a glass of the wine thereby risking a return to his alcoholic past? The play is static in nature, there is a reason for this, the words provide the drama.

Drama there is too. The question placed in the audience’s mind is will he or won’t he drink that glass of wine. If he does will it be in a toast to his dead father or perhaps because he thinks he can and not fallen into the alcoholic abyss again.

I noticed, like me, the audience leaning forward at various stages of the performance hoping to subliminally stop Benedict drink the wine, the man next to me winced at one stage as his wife clenched his knees in fear for Benedict. That is what the combination of great acting and a well written play can achieve.

This is very good theatre. As the play progresses, Benedict has to weigh up the consequences of his temptation.

For me the most poignant thought was that this play must run every day through the thought of any addict – here it happens to be alcohol, but any addict will have to daily slay the ‘sleeping tiger’.

I don’t think I would have the strength to do that every day if I were an addict. So hat tips to the reformed and a bravo to the Alexanders and Brigstocke. Great drama.

The Red, Pleasance Dome, King Dome, Pleasance, 4pm.

[review rating=”4″ align = “left”]