Alcohol and the Edinburgh Festivals have always been extremely cosy bedfellows. Much of the Festival’s sponsorship comes from alcohol brands. Each August, the city is populated by an uncountable number of pop-up bars. And quite often, that cold pint in your hand is all that will get you to the end of the excruciating show you are watching.
Drinks writers and comedy performers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham have clearly noticed this connection, as they start their show by giving away a free bottle of beer. And the drinks keep flowing right throughout the show, as they guide us through a history of alcohol and its drinkers with their new show – “The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to the Legends of Liquor”.
The duo’s first show – “The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol” – first premiered back in 2011 to rave reviews. After resurrecting the show in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the boys returned this year with a quick witted yet informative new production which explores how alcohol has influenced the lives of history’s great characters – be they real or fictional (sorry Jesus). Although over consumption and over reliance on alcohol may seem like a symptom of the 21st century, it’s clear that much of history has been guided and influenced by the bottle.
For the princely sum of just £12, every member of the audience also receives five free drinks during the course of the show; allowing everyone to savour the same flavours as…well…I’m not going to spoil it for you, but the line-up is as wacky as the two hosts. Although the show is very funny (puns galore!), with both performers going through numerous wardrobe changes, it’s actually very interesting and you leave better informed about some of our most popular tipples and historical figures.
I’m sure the boys will be back at the Festival next year, but if you can’t wait until then, they’re performing at a number of venues this October, and the dates can be found here.