Review – The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe

Saturday 27 August 2011

There are no prizes for guessing what attracted Phil to The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol. It certainly wasn’t the thinking.

Could it have been something in the show’s publicity: “There are going to be free drinks. They’ll be delicious drinks too”? Yes, yet another show which does exactly what it does on the tin.

In this case the tin was a can of Deuchars which just happens to be Phil’s ale of choice, handed out before the show even started. Ah if only London’s glittering West End were thus.

Drinks writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham have fashioned this potted and potty history of drinking into a nifty lecture about alcohol and how to enjoy it sensibly which unlike another show we could mention never falls into the trap of getting preachy.

They explain from the off that they are not performers and, true, there is a little line flubbing along the way yet their charm and wit, which wavers between delightfully corny and downright hilarious, sees them through and they handle the occasional well-mannered heckles like seasoned old pros. Impressive.

This is a celebration of libation with some interesting facts along the way. Smart quotes on the subject are uncovered and an artful discourse about alcohol’s influence on creativity and how it has helped win wars is playfully persuasive.

But back to its USP. We also get to sample six spirits along the way – some rather expensive ones too. Gin, rum, tequila even absinthe are handed round the understandably packed pint-sized auditorium. Phil even had the pleasure/misfortune (depending on your take) of being practically dry-humped by McFarland dressed as a bison as he sampled a bison grass vodka (a decidedly one-way exchange of fluids).

The Whingers feel inspired. If we can be arsed to spend three months researching our show at the British Library (as these chaps did) you can expect to see The Unthinking Drinkers Guide to Theatre on Edinburgh’s Fringe next year. The Whingers will be reluctantly dispensing merlot and warning punters about the perils of too much Pinter.

Note to selves: or take up drink writing instead? What a lark that must be.

Never has our rating system seemed so appropriate.

Rating

One Response to “Review – The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe”

  1. Phil K Says:

    Ahm, this is the one I didn’t get a chance to go to. I turned down free absinthe………


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