The Art of Reduction and the Distillation of Humanity: Whisky Theatre

The Whisky Anorak return this year with writer and performer John Mark's new piece of Whisky Theatre. Mark has written an incredibly clever show that fascinatingly combines the story of 20th century whisky with the bizarre counter cultures that emerged within the same period.

Clearly an expert on all things whisky and he has us in the palm of his hand

Mark describes the show as 'an abridged but ambitious history lesson' but with the added pleasure of whisky! The intelligence behind this piece is evident as he ingeniously links poignant cultural movements such as Dadaism and hippy culture to the rich and complex depths of whisky. It might sound like a strange concept but it works.

The tutored tastings that are incorporated within the piece also have a marvellous air of theatricality. Smart tables are arranged with three delicious whiskies and a silver spoon at each place. This leads to a delightful, ritualistic tasting of adding water then exploring the varying scents and flavours each tipple produces.

Though these tastings and 20th century subcultures seem worlds apart, Mark ties them together wonderfully. He examines the 'reduction' that is needed within history to process and understand individual events but then compares the distillation of whisky to the separation of all the counter cultures he examines. He masterfully explains how each movement has to be picked out individually just like the flavours of a good whisky.

There are times Mark seems to temporarily lose his place or when the script appears to be a little clumsy. But on reflection, these little imperfections really enhance the down-to-earth charm of this piece. He is clearly an expert on all things whisky and he has us in the palm of his hand as he shares his passion with us and takes us on an intimate journey through the 20th century.

Reviews by Alex Hargreaves

theSpace on the Mile

Normal is an Illusion

★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Not the Horse

★★★★
Greenside @ Royal Terrace

Richard III

★★★★
C venues – C cubed

A Midsummer Night's Dream

★★★
C venues - C

The Society of Strange

★★★★
Paradise in Augustines

C'tait la Nuit

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Light-hearted storytelling incorporating tutored whisky tasting, covering seminal moments of the whisky industry; an abridged point of view with all the usual nonsense – the Whisky Anorak way.