Barflies (2012)

adapted from stories by Charles Bukowski

Adapted and Directed by Ben Harrison Performed by Charlene Boyd, Keith Fleming and David Paul Jones

Some people never get crazy. What truly awful lives they must lead. 

Charles Bukowski

What starts as a gateway into a liberated loose, affectionate and flirtatious view of the world can so easily become a prison, a destruction of the body, the mind and the memory. And yet, without alcohol, what great works of art might we have missed, what creative revelations, what relationships, what joyous and fumbled acts of love instigated at the bar and hastily consummated after a hurried tax-ride home.

A search for meaning and pleasure in the arms and in the bodies of a series of women drives Henry to confront the darkest corners of himself and to challenge the whole ethic of the working life. Maybe more humanity, more analysis of the human psyche could be found from the edge of a barstool than from the most wide-ranging travels or the deepest research in a library. Barflies looks at the profound liberation of alcohol, it’s opening up of corners of sexuality and mental activity, as well as its most undesirable effects.

A huge sell-out and award winning success during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2009 for Scottish site-specialists Grid Iron, Barflies is a visceral look at the pains and glories or drunkenness and all the humour, horror, hope and devastation it can bring.

Drawn from the short-stories and poems of cult American writer Charles Bukowski,Barflies is a rumbustious encounter with his alter-ego Henry Chinaski and a bevvy of the women who shaped his life and work.

What The Press Said:

Cast & Crew:


Keith Fleming: Henry

Charlene Boyd: Cass, Vicki, Margy, Vivienne, Sarah

David Paul Jones: Silent Dave


Director/Adaptor: Ben Harrison

Producer: Judith Doherty

Composer & Sound Designer: David Paul Jones

Set & Costume Designer: Becky Minto

Lighting Designer: Kate Bonney

Production manager: Fiona Fraser

Technical Manager: Kate Bonney

Stage Manager: Mickey Graham

Sound Engineer: Ross Ramsay

Finance Manager: Deborah Crewe

Print Design: Emma Quinn


This tour of Barflies travelled to pubs and bars the length and breadth of Scotland then finished up in the famous Vulcan in Cardiff.  The Vulcan was taken down brick by brick shortly after our performances there, to be rebuilt in St Fagans National History Museum.  It was particularly fitting that the tour finished in The Vulcan as it was famed as a favoured drinking spot of Dylan Thomas as was the pub in New York, the White Horse Tavern, where, in 2007 during a recce visit for a different production, we first had the idea that led us to create Barflies.

Here is the full list of our 2012 tour venues:

6-9 Feb               The Barony Bar, Edinburgh (with Traverse Theatre)
12-13 Feb           Hooananny’s, Inverness (with Eden Court Theatre)
16-18 Feb           Dundee Rep Theatre Bar
21 Feb                 Betty Nicols, Kirkcaldy  (with Fife Cultural Trust)
24-25 Feb           Cumbernauld Theatre Bar
27 Feb-1 Mar     The Barony Bar, Edinburgh
6 Mar                  The Haunt Bar, Paisley Arts Centre
8-9 Mar               Redrooms, Perth Theatre Bar
14-17 Mar          Victorian Bar, Tron Theatre
20-24 Mar          The Vulcan, Cardiff (with Sherman Cymru)


Also supported by The Hugh Fraser Foundation