Review: Hamlet At The Bottle-O (Blood Moon Theatre)

Venue: Blood Moon Theatre (Potts Point NSW), May 15 – 26, 2018
Playwright: Pat H Wilson
Director: Adrian Barnes
Cast: Nick Mercer
Image by Marek Wojt

Theatre review
Like most of us who pursue careers in the arts, Nick is an actor who has to hold down a “real job” to pay the bills. Managing a bottle shop may not be his favourite occupation, but he does it well, in between sneaky practice sessions for imminent auditions. There are five short scenes in Pat H Wilson’s Hamlet At The Bottle-O Or The Wineshop Monologues, with Nick relaying amusing but inconsequential stories about colourful personalities and quaint occurrences at his workplace.

The one-man show features actor Nick Mercer, charismatic and highly energetic in a simple work that demands little more than an enthusiastic familiarity with the text. Mercer proves himself an engaging presence, but the material is limiting in terms of character development, and the proficiency that we encounter never progresses beyond its somewhat basic requirements. The cordial man behind the wineshop counter has a simple job ringing up your purchase, and the performer too, on this occasion, needs only be pleasant, and he passes with flying colours.

We are more than the jobs we do, but often it is how we are employed that determines our identity in the eyes of the world. People can be useful to society in a myriad ways, and it is what we contribute that allows others to form an understanding of who we are. It is however, equally important that the individual knows the self beyond the face that they present on the outside. Most know Nick as the affable bottle-o guy, but Nick knows that he is capable of very much more.