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REVIEW BY AMELIA GROOM

 

From up-and-coming writer Brendan Cowell comes the story of a young guy who’s got it all ‘ the parties, high-flying job, money, women ‘ but when he loses it he finds himself isolated and having to re-examine his whole existence. It’s essentially a play about alcohol: the modern epidemic of Australian binge drinking, addiction and genetics, the real physical effects of prolonged alcoholism on the body, and what happens when a party person stops and looks around.

Ruben Guthrie is Creative Director at a cutting edge advertising agency who overindulges in drugs and alcohol. When he ends up injuring himself jumping out of a hotel window into a children’s pool, his model fiancé decides she’s had enough and is going home to Prague. He joins AA and tries to get his life on track but soon finds there’s not a lot of support around him. Everyone in his life seems to be constantly encouraging him to get drunk. The further Ruben digs on his journey of self-discovery the more pain he finds, and the more it hurts the more he craves a drink.

Ruben Guthrie is a Phillip Parson’s Young Playwright’s Award commission, and is launching the 2008 B Sharp Season at Belvoir St Theatre. Its themes of childhood trauma, guilt, rejection, wasted creative potential and isolation are punctuated with moments of hope, humanity and humour. Toby Schmitz is excellent in the lead role as Ruben and though the play starts to feel a little drawn out towards the end, in all it’s as sharp and engaging as it is confronting.

 

Ruben Guthrie
Until May 11
Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre
25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
$23-$29 (Cheap Tues Pay-what-you-can, min. $10)
Bookings: 9699 3444 or www.belvoir.com.au