The Best Pints -The Hope Theatre, London

Reviewer: Andrew Houghton

Writer: Jack Gallagher

Director: Kay Dent

The Best Pints, currently at The Hope Theatre, is an intimate and playful production following three friends as they enjoy a nice pint of stout.

Gerry, Steve and David are drinking in their favourite pub, as they do around four times a week, when Gerry raises the topic of the ‘best pint’. Now, this is not the best ‘tasting’ pint per se – which the friends unanimously agree would be won by their go-to residence – rather, the pint that meant the most to each man ‘emotionally’. Stitched together by natural banter (and frequently interrupted by squabbles over details), each of the men proceeds to tell his tale.

The actors have good chemistry together and each prove to be engaging storytellers when it is their turn to take centre stage. Matthew Blaney, as Steve, energetically establishes himself from the outset as the quick-talking joker of the group who can’t help but exaggerate his stories to entertain the group. As David, who provides humour in his own way as a neurotic stickler for detail, Tarik Badwan gives the most vulnerable performance of the night and is captivating to watch.

Whereas Warren Rusher’s portrayal of Gerry lays somewhere in-between, bridging the gap between clown and sensitive soul. He also feels somewhat like the anchor of the three, as the initiator of the central discussion and a reliable rock the others can lean on.

Naturally, the production does contain a fair amount of ‘lad’ talk: discussing football and asserting what ‘real beer’ is. Yet, beneath the layers of bravado, Jack Gallagher’s writing has a universality to it as the true themes of friendship and community bubble up to the surface. Kay Dent’s direction is also effective for the most part and balances stillness and energy within the piece. However a few moments slip through the cracks and feel like movement for the sake of movement.

Overall this play effectively emulates being at the pub with the boys, with some particularly poignant moments thrown in for good measure and theatricality.

 Runs until 30 January 2023

The Reviews Hub Score

Intimate and playful

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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