Critique: Drinking Habits

“A show to remember.”

Student Director Christian Gifford

Drinking Habits By: Tom Smith, is a farce production set in a convent. Originally this play was taken place in the 1920’s / 60’s, but due to the directors vision, this production that you can watch will be placed in modern times. I was given a personal preview of the show and was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. Two sisters of the convent make wine instead of juice to help save their poor and dying convent. Two reporters sneak in and try to blend in to the convent to crack down on who did it.

A fresh flock of new actors sat along side some of the very talented veterans. All 3 male parts are brand new actors to the UJ acting scene. At times it felt like the play was dragging on but then was met with a twist of comedy gold. While critiquing this show I realized I wasn’t writing down any notes, because the performances of these young actors captivated me. “This was not easily met” or so I was told by the Student Director of this play, Christian Gifford. Actors who were new were quickly humbled by the veterans as they made the show worth the watch.

For my individual critics I will start with the young lead. A freshman named Charlie Ulstad. Charlie (a newcomer to the UJ acting scene) pleasantly surprised me with his great performance. He knew exactly what he was doing when it came down to comedic timing. In the show, Charlie’s character Paul is a news reporter who goes undercover with his co-reporter Sally played by Kiera Horner. Paul is meant to have many costume changes. I was impressed by the sheer speed that Charlie was able to change. Not only a fast changer but a great actor as well. He shows great chemistry with his cast mates and isn’t afraid to crack a joke between scenes. While this is his first production at UJ, Charlie puts out an exemplary performance.

Sarah Jenson is not by any means new to the UJ acting scene. Sarah is a senior at the University of Jamestown and it shows in this production. Sarah has not only put all of her hard work and effort into this show, but every show she has ever been in. Not only an outstanding actor on stage, but an amazing friend and mentor to all she has worked with on shows. In Drinking Habits Sarah plays Sister Philamena, who is one of the two sisters trying to sell wine. Sarah portrays this character so perfectly that it becomes an amazing fit for this funny show. From laugh to laugh this show kept bringing me back in and it was all made possible by amazing actors like Sarah Jenson.

Overall, this is a great watch. I would love to see this show turn even more into a chaotic mess, because it will just make it become that much funnier. Congratulations to Christian Gifford for making this all happen and congratulations to all the new and “old” actors for putting on another great UJ show.

Drinking Habits will be performed February 9th, 10th, and 11th and 7:30 pm, all students and faculty get in for free! Tickets can be reserved:

Online: Reiland Box Office – University of Jamestown (
Phone: (701) 252-3467 ext. 5435.
Reiland Box Office: Located in the Reiland Fine Arts Building, near music faculty offices.

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