Some people may be happy to spend €5 on Rum and Vodka, but the play seems to leave a sour taste, writes Matthew Jones

Can you put a price on 57 minutes and 43 seconds? I’d like to think that an hour of my time is worth at least a fiver. That being the case, Kevin O’Connor and Kieron Smith owe me €5, each.

O’Connor has directed Rum and Vodka, a short, one-man monologue, originally written by the playwright: Conor McPherson. Kieron Smith takes the lead role, a twenty-something civil servant whose life unravels over the course of an alcohol-soaked lost weekend.

Sounds good right? Well, maybe it was first night jitters, but I did not like the play. Smith’s performance was strained and at times, he mixed up his lines. The dramatic pauses in the play, which were meant to show the man’s anguish, were instead just empty gaps with Smith pinching up his face at the crowd.

Characters in the play come and go without any real significance. Only hours after witnessing this performance, I found it difficult to remember the man’s wife (it’s Marie, by the way). Smith’s character claims to be very much in love with his wife and daughters, yet there were no emotional ties evident. Smith explains how his character lost his job, his wife and his whole life over the course of three days.

There is a significant lack of emotion in this play. When trying to portray anger or sadness to the audience, Smith just varies the volume of his voice, as well as the amount of spittle that flies out of his mouth into the crowd. Instead, we are expected to substitute dialogue and character development with repeated pub scenes.

The director and performer can’t be blamed for all the problems in the play however. Maybe it was the performance, but for a supposedly uneducated man who spent the last few days on an alcohol-fuelled bender, the dialogue is quite philosophical and introspective, with the still drinking man taking his time and silently contemplating his lot in life.

To take a quote from the show: “I think I hate the human race, I think they know, and they hate me too.” Don’t worry Kieron; the whole human race doesn’t hate you, just those of us who saw that performance.

Rum and Vodka, presented by the Gonzo Theatre Company, is running from April 4th to 9th in the International Bar.