“This was a very interesting play though I can't say it was a favorite of mine. It's the story of a bunch of drunks in the early 1900s that all sit around Harry Hope's bar under their boarding house and talk about all of their "pipe dreams" (this is a phrase that is repeated a lot throughout the play). They all used to be something once but now they can barely lift their heads off the tables. They hardly have a dime to their names so they try to scam any free booze they can out of Harry or the bartender/pimp that serves them. But soon the salesman, Hickey, is supposed to arrive for Harry's birthday party. That's the one time every year where things liven up and everyone has a great time because Hickey spreads all his money around and everyone gets sloshed. But this time when Hickey gets there things are different. Hickey has changed in some way. The gang soon realizes he's...sober! And Hickey's plan is to get all his drunk friends to give up on their silly pipe dreams so that they can for once be at peace with themselves the same way he finally is now.
The play itself is incredibly depressing. It's funny how the owner of the bar's last name is "Hope" and yet there really isn't any hope contained in the whole play. Hickey annoys every single character in the story, including the reader, with his badgering on and on but yet you can sense he's right in a way. It's all very heavy and psychological.
One thing that I was not a fan of, and this is just a technical note really, is there was a lot of stage direction. I tend to like plays more when that is limited. Also, since it all takes place in Harry's bar, there were no scenes, just four acts. But otherwise it was well worth the read, though certainly not a pick-me-up type of story in any sense. ”
llevinso wrote this review Wednesday, December 14, 2011.