What better way to celebrate the delicate art of being Canadian than hoisting a pint glass and having a laugh? Bye Bye Liver: The Drinking Play invites spirited locals to do just that with a new theatrical experience that explores those dual pleasures in a barroom theatre.
The Hard Rock Cafe, at 279 Yonge St., plays host to this Chicago original, launched there five years ago to give actors’ desire to drink on stage legitimacy. Toronto seemed an obvious expansion city, says creator Byron Hatfield. “They’re both on the lake, both have amazing pub cultures, both have long bouts of winter darkness which we use drink to alleviate.”
Bye Bye Liver is a fast-paced interactive show that explores some of the universal glitches into which folks with glass in hand are liable to stumble. Meet the girl who should never get near a martini, the guy who drunk-dials his ex, the puffed-up bouncer who thinks he’s guarding the pearly gates. Throughout the show, actors engage audience members with drinking games like Would You Rather?
The Toronto version has generated positive noise since it launched the first week of February to sold-out crowds. “People have an automatic response to the idea of drinking and laughing,” enthuses Hatfield. “It’s been fantastic.”
In some ways, he says, the production draws nostalgic responses from its audiences for its invitation back to carefree collegial days when a good game of Never Have I Ever was just the ticket for an evening out.
“It would be easy to have a show about drinking that’s funny because you’re drinking,” Hatfield clarifies. “But we wanted to make a show about drinking that’s funny because it’s funny. People come to drink and they stay to laugh.”
Bye Bye Liver runs every Saturday at 8 pm until April 23.