Before the Thinking Drinkers even begins, the audience experiences a feeling which is very rare at Edinburgh Fringe: ‘This show is value for money!’
An utterly perfect way to kick off an evening of revelries.
Provided with a bag containing no fewer than five alcoholic beverages, we settle into our seats as The Drinkers – Ben and Tom – prance onto stage in intriguing costumes before stripping off into a novel routine that could be truly epic in the hands of physical comedy masters. As it is, the two hosts are confident, likeable enough and have a good rapport with each other, though border on generic.
But it’s the format and content of the show which are the real strength here. No pre-existing knowledge is necessary, as The Thinking Drinkers Pub Quiz amounts to a comical cocktail of mini-lectures laced with shots of trivia and a chaser of four questions after each round to test your memory and attention skills.
Everything works well here but minds are never blown. The format, information, jokes, questions and hosts are all solid, though the writing and delivery feel somewhat short of its potential. There’s also some awkward crowd control at times, with Ben occasionally breaking the flow and interrupting Tom to hush members of the audience who were being significantly less disruptive than him. There must be better ways to fit that in more seamlessly.
The two tour this show and present their work in a variety of formats and platforms, and it’s no surprise that they have a keen following. The show translates well to the Fringe and they pack a heck of a lot into the hour. There are missed opportunities to further engage the audience, as the minor scoldings and total ignoring of potentially atmosphere-generating heckles may keep the momentum but also creates a barrier between the Drinkers and the drinkers, in a format where removal of barriers is paramount.
The Thinking Drinkers provide really high quality samples of drinks so don’t be put off by the promise of free booze. If you like trivia and alcohol and fancy trying out that rare Edinburgh show that offers something genuinely unique, then this is an utterly perfect way to kick off an evening of revelries.