THERE are some ideas that are great in theory but don’t quite come off in practice.
And while “Pills, Thrills and Bellyaching” has potential, the latest offering at Southville’s Tobacco Factory definitely fell into that category.
With a title inspired by the classic Happy Mondays album, “Pills” looked at the rave culture of the early 1990s.
It focused on five main characters, each giving monologues recounting their experience at a warehouse rave.
To create atmosphere, the main stage and the bar at the venue were transformed into a night club for the evening.
That meant a loud acid house sound track, moody lighting, glow in the dark paint and DJs.
This was certainly not a performance for people who want to sit down for two hours and applaud politely.
There can’t be many plays that have “Jericho” by The Prodigy as the warm up music but it all worked surprisingly well.
Unfortunately the writing wasn’t as impressive as the set dressing.
There’s undoubtedly a rich creative mine in the dark side of clubbing but monologues are tricky to pull off, and the five in “Pills” were very hit and miss.
The strongest was “For Real Love”, an unsettling tale of a girl who spikes her friend’s drink and then leaves her to die.
Anna Westlake performed a well written piece that was the closest to a coherent story of the five.
It was followed by “Passion”, which saw an impressive turn by Ali Watt as a soldier looking for his mates.
The other scenes felt light weight by comparison, bordering on pretentious.
If the five stories had been as strong as “For Real Love” it might have worked, but as it was “Pills” felt like a case of style over substance.