Courtney Rose Brown
The script is raw and gusty, and McCracken and Clarke match this with their vulnerability and playfulness. Their relationship is dynamic and they are fast on beats, nailing comedic timing and gut wrenching moments. Scotty and Brit know each other well; easily they slip into voices from old jokes and memories that they know will embarrass the other. McCracken and Clarke share their comfort with each other, holding moments of physical intimacy for an amount of time that borders on uncomfortable for the audience, but it shows how much they -- actors and characters -- care for each other. The scope of their relationship is moving, as it feels reflective, like we too are figuring out the same things that they are.
Despite their obvious care for each other, Brit and Scotty are in different places. Brit has fame and countless performance opportunities; Scotty is struggling with local co-op theatre, unable to make a living off what he creates. Shit gets real backstage after downing back a few bottles of wine and mental barriers come down. The first one starting with questions about the exes, both beating around the bush, in trying to figure out where each other’s priorities lie now.
Max, with just the right amount of desperation and passion, contrasts with their frustration. Max is necessary to the show as he brings hope and Brown’s commitment and enthusiasm is always a pleasure to watch. His less jaded perspective is comforting because the show isn’t presenting a bleak perspective, but a hard reality.
Wine Lips is confronting for theatre practitioners, (the majority of the audience on opening night) as it questions the point of ‘why we do what we do’ e.g. theatre, and relationships. The ‘in jokes’ with the theatre crowd, provides another layer of joy when audience members see themselves in it (at times moments hitting too close to home - applying for the benefit after creative pursuits can’t pay the bills) without making those separate from the ‘world’ feel isolated.
Wine Lips is part of the double bill running at BATS Theatre, presented by Making Friends Collective. It is a beautiful show and an enchanting world to be held within for an hour. It’s like a backstage pass into the ‘behind the scenes’ of a relationship between two people everyone thinks should be together. Brooks, is undeniably a talented playwright and the cast and crew have done a brilliant job staging Wine Lips, make sure you don't miss out!