Review: Drink of Choice (Alma Matters/HollyWould)

Bartender holds a jar of rice. Drink of Choice is a choose-your-own-adventure story about dating as an an asexual

A storytelling show with an orange-peel twist, Drink of Choice, plays at the Factory Studio Theatre. This Fringe Festival Patron’s Pick is co-produced by Alma-Matters and HollyWould productions.

Drink of Choice is a choose your own adventure storytelling show, created and performed by Holly Wyder. The show is set in a bar, ‘Ex Machina’, in which Wyder’s nameless bartender shares stories based loosely on experiences from her life. These stories largely revolve around her experience navigating the dating world as someone who is asexual.

I was impressed by how the show relayed Wyder’s lived experience as an asexual trying their best to date and find a meaningful relationship. Seeing how others’ expectations and preconceived notions impacted her, I could sympathize with her struggles. Drink of Choice, at its core, does a great job of engaging the audience and reaching out through its stories.

Up to six consenting audience members choose non-alcoholic drinks off a menu, and these determine the stories told throughout the show. I personally feel the fun of this kind of storytelling is retracing, or at least understanding, the “road not taken”. However, in this live format the audience has little concept of what that is. Thus, the ‘choose your own adventure’ aspect of the show didn’t quite land with me personally.

I did feel that sometimes the messages and themes were repeated to the point of being redundant; that some stories and comedic bits could have been edited down to make room for more substantive content. Or, perhaps, just have more quiet moments, as I would have appreciated just a second to sit with things. However, I understand that may have run counter to Wyder’s onstage persona.

That said, Wyder’s storytelling demonstrated courageous, admirable vulnerability. Her raw energy is extremely impressive. She carries the show well, never wavering in her intensity. I appreciated Drink of Choice, and would be curious to experience a different iteration of it.

Details

  • Drink of Choice is on at Factory’s Studio Theatre (125 Bathurst St.) until November 3, 2019.
  • Shows run Wednesdays to Sundays at 8:00 PM.
  • Tickets are $32.50 and can be purchased online.
  • Run Time: Approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes.
  • Audience Advisory: optional audience participation, sexual content, coarse language.

Image of Holly Wyder in Drink of Choice provided by Alma Matters.

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