Printable CopyPALE ALE TALES
Griffins Hotel
Until 04 Mar 2017

Review by Paige Mulholland

Just like a night spent on the pales, “Pale Ale Tales” is not for the faint-hearted; if you cringe at dirty talk or enjoy only polished, high-brow theatre, you might want to get yourself a glass of the good stuff before heading in. In fact, you should do that anyway – it’s only fitting. But there’s certainly good work brewing (pun absolutely intended) in the show- if you’re looking for a light night with a beer and some simple, local-made theatre, “Pale Ale Tales” is one to keep an eye on.

“Pale Ale Tales” is a series of short vignettes, all centring on characters who are drinking, have recently drank, or have recently demolished, a few pale ales. Some are funny, some have moments of seriousness, and some are downright pornographic, but all are a very-Australian, very male love letter to the humble beer.

The vignettes themselves were hit-and-miss – while some, such as the scene with the inebriated barfly cracking onto a bartender, were well-written and obviously enjoyed by the audience, others felt a little gratuitous. One vignette, where a university student fantasises about another student during a lecture, featured a connection to the beer theme that was dubious at best, and fell flat with the audience. The lack of connection or storyline and the excessive sexual content made the whole scene feel a little pointless. Another scene, where a homophobic character attempts to attack a man he believes is gay, also felt a little lost; the plot never reached a conclusion, but didn’t exactly leave audience in suspense; it wasn’t funny, but it lacked the gravitas needed to make it sad. While some scenes were very entertaining, others dangled in no-man’s land.

The performers stumbled a little here and there (one quite literally when a chair collapsed beneath him) but were enjoyable to watch once they warmed up a little. The actors embodied several different characters, from lovesick poets to drunken bogans (a crowd favourite), and worked well both as an ensemble and in some impressively-long monologues.

It certainly wasn’t a pale-ale-tale-fail, and, with some tweaks, it could venture into winning territory.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5