Drew McOnie's Drunk at London's Bridewell Theatre is a lively exploration of alcohol's influence on romantic encounters. We begin, appropriately enough, in "Happy Hour." Each of the performers arrives on a stage made up as a crowded bar and meets their particular poison, experiencing its unexpected, humorous, sensuous, and sometimes frightening effects on the body: Martini (Daniel Collins), Champagne (Katy Lowenhoff), Vodka (Lucinda Lawrence), Cider (Simon Hardwick), Scotch (Ashley Andrews), Rum (Fela Lufadeju), and Absinthe (Anabel Kutay). Then Ice (Gemma Sutton) arrives. Ice is on a blind date in this crowded bar, and she can't decide what she wants to drink. Hijinks ensue.

Gemma Sutton as Ice © Marc Hankins
Gemma Sutton as Ice
© Marc Hankins
As Ice waits for her date to arrive, she watches an evening of alcohol-fuelled antics unfold before her: first, the suave sophistication of Martini in a sensuous dance, during which he attempts to keep his three partners (Kutay, Lawrence, Lowenhoff) apart... and ends up losing all of them.

Then, the aggressively masculine "Shots" (Andrews, Hardwick and Lufadeju) arrive, all push-ups, getting in fights, planting a kiss on a girl in the front row and insistently dancing with Ice. We've all been there – having to fight off the unwanted attentions of louche men in bars (though personally I've never encountered one in a flat cap). My usual strategy in these situations to stand up and glower down at them until they disappear, but Ice does pretty well with a few choice frosty glances.

McOnie Company's Drunk © Marc Hankins
McOnie Company's Drunk
© Marc Hankins

But dancing is only half the game here, and much is conveyed through song. Ice is the principal vocalist of the show, with two particularly fun numbers about ex-boyfriends: Guinness, the one who seemed perfect but couldn't dance, and Fosters, good at sex – which she rather adorably refers to as rooting – but not much else.

The standout number of the evening is Scotch and Rum's glorious duet about two soldiers finding love in 1945, then separated forever. In an evening of bubbly enthusiasm, this moment of solemn tenderness is perfectly placed.

Other favourite moments of mine include the hilariously Wodehousian ensemble dance "Pimms," including some excellently mimed (and might I say rather limber) polo riders, rugby players and rowing punters. "Break the Seal," which I can only describe as a waiting-in-the-ladies-room-queue can-can also garnered some well-deserved guffaws. Ice's duet with Cider, about first love left behind, is beautifully playful and touching. Champagne invites us back to the jazz age, helping to get the tightly-wound Ice out of her chair and onto the floor in an effervescent, hiccup-driven number. Behind the bar is a five piece jazz ensemble mixing Grant Olding's score with this topsy-turvy scene: Tom Kelly the musical director on piano, Andre Canniere on trumpet, Matt McNaughton on saxophone, Billy Stookes on percussion, and Johnny Wells on bass.

Katy Lowenhoff as Gin and Simon Hardwick as Tonic © Marc Hankins
Katy Lowenhoff as Gin and Simon Hardwick as Tonic
© Marc Hankins
The music really does give the set the feel of a lively, old-fashioned nightclub. This is complemented by the charming 1930s-style costuming designed by Ryan Laight. 

There were a couple of awkward moments: a torn costume, someone kicked the set, and at times the singers struggled to be heard over the band, but overall it's a very solid and enjoyable performance.

I certainly left the theatre wanting to dance my way to the next bar... but then, many a Thursday night seems to take that turn for me. Perhaps that's why Drunk is such fun: it has the feeling of being familiar and novel in the same glass.