The Thinking Drinkers are back at the Fringe and this year they’re serving up a whistle stop tour of the world’s boozy traditions, mixing up a cocktail of historical facts, filthy innuendos and free drinks. It all adds up to an enjoyable hour of raucous entertainment.
A Bollywood re-enactment and over-enthusiastic Riverdance are very funny set-pieces, but during much of the show it’s the blend of jokes and facts that keep things going
Starting with an Indian Pale Ale brewed down in Greenwich, Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham take the audience on a journey through Africa, Asia and the Americas before bringing us back home to Europe, dishing out free tasters as they go. With their on-stage bar acting as a kind of ropey IKEA transformer, changing from a boat to a plane to a hot-air balloon, it’s a fun and interesting ride.
This is in no small part to the hosts of the show: two men with a clear love for the subject they’re talking about and, like the best drinkers, a willingness to cast dignity aside in the name of a laugh. A Bollywood re-enactment and over-enthusiastic Riverdance are very funny set-pieces, but during much of the show it’s the blend of jokes and facts that keep things going.
Many of these jokes are awful. They’re truly the kind of gags that have you cringing well before the inevitably rank punchlines appear; however, they’re pitched perfectly to a rowdy festival audience, eliciting groans and laughs in equal measure. The facts, on the other hand, are uniformly fascinating and there are no shortage of eyebrow-raising ‘ah – so that’s what that means’ moments as the alcohol-soaked origins of many a saying is laid out between the one liners. It all adds up to a lot of fun.
The Thinking Drinkers pack all the ingredients of a great Edinburgh Fringe night out into one hour. The duo may have the motto “drink less but drink better” but with booze, laughs and some really interesting information this is a show that’s well worth binging on.