Not quite two years ago, a trio of Neo-Futurists bellied up to the bar over at T’s in Andersonville and prattled on for an hour or so about some of America’s greatest writers and their love of the drink. It was a loose, amiable show that I described in my review as a “cunning ode to fermented prose,” and clearly the laid-back vibe and subject matter—a drunken literary seminar, if you will—found an audience; the show has popped up again and again at various locations since its inception. Too bad this effort to expand on this original idea—or rather, narrow its focus—is such a disappointment. In “Volume II: The Noble Experiment,” Sean Benjamin, Chloe Johnston and Steve Mosqueda focus on the writers who thrived and boozed it up during era of Prohibition (1919-1933) and ask: “What is the connection between drinking and writing and Prohibition? And why is it that when you tell Americans not to do something, they do it anyway?” A few cursory hypotheses are mentioned, but rarely do these writer-performers shed any light on the subject matter at hand. The deadpan, understated contributions from Benjamin are the wittiest and pithiest of the bunch, whether its his essay, “The Continuing Journey of Drunk Man,” or a description of his father sitting alone in a dark kitchen late at night, drinking warm beer and smoking a cigarette, listening to country music turned down low on the radio. The cast graciously offers up pints of free beer to anyone who can correctly answer boozy trivia questions, but the show itself feels scattered and is in desperate need of better pacing. The 7pm start time doesn’t help matters, with the bright evening sun flooding through the large windows in T’s back room. A show like this needs to take place somewhere dark and cozy—far from the joggers and dog-walkers of summer. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.