Drunk Lion is one man’s trippy, fantastical re-imagining of life in a Mexican village. Written and brilliantly performed by Philadelphia’s Chris Davis, it’s been drawn from characters and experiences he had whilst teaching English in Chiapas, Mexico.
It’s an impressionistic piece, capturing all the alienation, fuzzy-headedness and existential anxiety of a traveller adrift in the lazy, hazy, passionate world of Latin America. Davis, swigging from a bottle, morphs from himself into a beer-sozzled, self-pitying lion character for a series of bar-room conversations about love, life and the universe. As Davis flips from Spanish to English, from lion to man, at frenetic pace, it has the wooziness and disjointed logic of all the best nights out.
The love of the lion’s life is the voluptuous Juanita, but in a town with Juanitas everywhere and lions everywhere and beer after beer after beer being downed, we’re never left sure who is who, what is what or why we’re here. There’s moments of clarity, moments of hilarity and a disorienting momentum to the piece, making it thoroughly absorbing. Although relying heavily on the personal rather than the universal experience, Drunk Lion is imaginative, free-flowing story-telling of very high quality.