Review | Laura Money
The top ten percent or so of whisky in a barrel gets evaporated – just dissolves straight into the air for the angels. It is the angels’ share.
So the saying goes. When writer Michael Ramus discovered this and the life of ‘whisky boys’ on a trip to the Scottish Isles, he was, quite rightly enamored. Angels’ Share is a quirky tale about two ‘whisky boys’ – best friends entrusted to guard the barrels of whisky in the long abandoned distillery on an isolated island. Nicknamed Feints and Fallshorts, slightly derogatory terms for the unusable whisky as part of the distillation process, the two lads realise they are sitting on a goldmine and then all hell breaks loose.
Angels’ Share sees Carl (Mark McDonald) and Mike (Jordan Valentini) distill their philosophies through small town sensibilities and isolation. Their realisation that the barrels are worth a lot of money is the catalyst for both their recklessness and their guardedness. McDonald is hilarious as the goofy Carl. He bounces around the stage and one can’t help but feel affection for him As his budding relationship with Claire (Jen Bagg) grows, a real tenderness creeps in and you start to care for this character. Valentini’s Mike is a little more brooding. As a homosexual man hiding his true self from people who probably wouldn’t care anyway, he is a tortured character who has grown a little too big for the island he inhabits. Hanging over his head like a cloud is the alcoholism that has seen him lose almost everyone he loves, and the dire warning that he is heading in the same direction.
Jen Bagg is great as the impish Claire – you kind of don’t like her much at first as your loyalty will be with Carl, but after a while you realise how well she performs the role. Likewise, Sophie Lester who plays the cheerful police officer, Rosie and a rather sinister character later on. She’s a great foil for the two boys and her charm is in her teasing delivery. Director Jared Barkla does a fantastic job of keeping the action concentrated. The set is small and intimate, at times taking on the claustrophobia of not only the space but the plot squeezing down on the characters. He also steps in as Richard, Mike’s lover and provides a reasoning voice to the whole thing.
Much like the barrels of whisky that are guarded so tightly, the story of the ‘whisky boys’ is a quirky one that has long been forgotten to the outside world. I for one, am glad that some of its magic leaked out, that we got the Angels’ Share of the tale.
WHEN: 14 – 16 February 2019 | 6:30pm
WHERE: Nevermind Smallclub | NORTHBRIDGE
INFO: Tickets $25 | Duration 60m (Likely to run overtime) | Age suitability: PG | Content warning: Occasional coarse language, Sexual References, Depicts Violence | THEATRE