I took my husband Pete to see “Drinking Alone” at the Phoenix Theatre in Edmonds and together we joined our hands and gave this hilarious comedy four thumbs up.
Pete declared the show fun and engrossing and said the acting was quite good. I heartily agree.
The sarcastic one-liners wrap around a rather dark theme of alcoholism but like a blended drink, the combination goes down smooth and satisfying. Credit goes to playwright Norm Foster for the dry, witty dialogue, director Rick Wright and to the Phoenix Theatre cast for having the comedic chops to serve this story up right.
The plot is a reunion of the Todd family who have not been together in at least a decade and are comprised of father Ivan, stepmother Phyllis and son and daughter Joe and Carrie. Add to this group a Renee Duchene, who has been hired by Joe to be his fiancee to impress dad, and let the laughs ensue.
Renee was played by Phoenix first-timer Erica Bergman and Pete and I hoped she would return again and again. Bergman was cute, shapely and flawless in her goofball role as the escort whose mouth runneth over in unnerving situations, such as pretending to be engaged to Joe.
Bergman’s lighthearted role played well off Carrie’s spitfire sarcastic role as the sister and daughter who desperately needs hugs and is in denial about her drinking. “I know my limit,” to which her brother replies: “Yes. You always wave to it as it goes by.” Carrie was played solidly by Sara Trowbridge.
Another solid performance was turned in by Justin Tinsley as Joe, whose wonderful facial expressions and comic timing helped to carry the show.
Phyllis was played by Phoenix co-founder and veteran actress Melanie Calderwood, who is always a pleasure to see on stage. Finally, role of daddy Ivan went to John Klise, who almost reprised his role from “On Golden Pond,” as the strong and mightily sarcastic patriarch of the family who has a tough armor, a lot of guilt and a deep secret. Klise gave a hang-onto-your-seat performance because I found myself bracing against his cutting remarks, such as telling his son “halibut is a good catch but you are no halibut,” yet I couldn’t help but laugh.
You will too.
“Drinking Alone” performs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through April 23 at the Phoenix Theatre, 9673 Firdale Ave., Edmonds. Tickets are $18, $15 and $12. Call 206-533-2000 or go to The Phoenix Theatre .