Drink Of Choice - TORONTO FRINGE 2019 REVIEW

Drink Of Choice - TORONTO FRINGE 2019 REVIEW

Drink of Choice is an impressive feat, not only in it’s acting and performance but it’s structure and execution.

First off, there is an effervescent charm about Holly that carries the entire production making her simultaneously likable, relatable, funny and charming.

As a bartender recounting her history of love, loss, family and dreams to the audience, she goes a long way to create a space that feels safe for herself and the audience, and encourages a sense of play and discovery.

It also makes this concept extremely hard to review because I know that I’ve only seen one of the many possible outcomes of the show. At her own admission, there are eight different possible endings to the show which is incredibly impressive, not just in the acting, but also the incredible amount of items that are needed to perform the show, but also in the incredibly complicated work that must have to happen before, during and after in regard to stage managing. While I only saw one of these possible outcomes, the idea of coming back time and time again and having a wildly different experience is an exciting one, and if they’re all of the same high caliber as the mix I saw, I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

Holly is an impressive improviser, and could easily deviate from the script based off of what inputs and prompts she received from the audience. She is truly a remarkably diverse performer with a ton to offer. Even the set is well designed and holds a wide variety of props and pieces in a small amount of space. A part of me wonders how she manages to fit all the items into such a limited backstage space, but as it stands- the feat is impressive.

My biggest takeaway from this would be the concern that some shows might be “better” than others- or that if a specific gimmick is revealed to offer a specific result, that Holly could end up repeating the same show over and over again based off the audience requests. Hopefully that doesn’t happen and each show can feel as fresh and exciting as the one I saw. As it stands, there are moments where the script plays fast and loose, but as an improviser, you can see her always doing her best to make her way back to the script. Also there’s a blanket of props that make me very curious to see what other sketches or gags may have come up, had the option arose. I am still constantly wondering about the “What if” of the piece.

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