The Thinking Drinkers: Heroes of Hooch

Award-winning drinks writers and comedy performers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham return to Edinburgh with their latest libation, The Thinking Drinkers: Heroes of Hooch, in Underbelly, Cowbarn.

A lively, fun night out

Five offerings are made as the onstage story races through epic events and outstanding people associated with alcohol. There’s something for everyone and once the opening beer has been distributed the quality of the drinks is impressive: an exceptional and unusual gin; a fine single malt whisky; a renowned rum and a superb after-dinner soother from France. They are true to the Thinking Drinkers’ famous catchphrase: ‘Drink Less, Drink Better’. Everyone receives a programme with notes on the drinks and where they can be purchased.

Each refreshment is accompanied by its own scene complete with an array of costumes; some revealing, some out of this world, others simply frivolous and finally a quite smart outfit. They all fit perfectly, not necessarily on their bodies, but with the tales they tell about the astronomers, musicians, magicians, conquerors, can-can dancers, pirates, painters, politicians, thinkers, theorists, scientists, sportsmen, visionaries and many more who seem to have indulged in one form of hooch or another to progress their endeavours. All this comes fully illustrated with a panoply of projections of the famous and the phallic, the academic and aesthetic.

There’s also humour, some of which had us laughing out loud. But they cater for all tastes and the amusing comes in many forms. There are intellectual jokes that have a built-in time delay, while the audience works it out and by which time they have missed the next one, groaning jokes that are unbelievably corny and slightly above them the oo jokes. There are even some that fall flat, but no one really cares because the next drink is coming round.

It’s a lively, fun night out probably best enjoyed with a few friends and few a drinks before you arrive just to get in the mood.

Reviews by Richard Beck

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

After eight years of sell-outs, the Thinking Drinkers return with a brand-new, hilarious and intoxicating look at history’s greatest drinkers. Enjoy five free drinks as the award-winning experts reveal how alcohol has inspired pioneering explorers, politicians and painters in equal measure, from Plato and Picasso, to Nelson, Napoleon and Norm from Cheers. You'll learn a lot, laugh a lot and, don't forget, you get five free drinks. 'Pioneers of alcohol based comedy' (Sunday Times). 'A terrific show. The best value for money in town' **** (Scotsman). 'Hugely funny, genuinely fascinating' **** (Edinburgh Evening News).

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