Thinking Drinkers Q&A – Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Edinburgh, the Fringe, why bother?

Why not? What have you got on that’s better? Not a lot, we reckon. Not a lot.

What have been the nuggets of inspiration behind your show this year?

Our show is called Around the world in 80 Drinks and it’s about the glorious and historic global love affair with alcohol. The inspiration was to find an eye-catching title for the Fringe in the new year to meet the registration deadline. This in turn led to a realisation that attempting to cover 80 drinks and going around the entire planet in an hour-long piece of comedy theatre was, indeed, quite a stupid idea. So then the inspiration was how to make a title like this work under the restricted circumstances of the stage. We have succeeded by turning our stage bar into a hot air balloon, plane and boat, discovering some incredible acting skills that will make you believe you are indeed on the battle field of the Vietnam war or at a Miss World contest in Venezuela. We have peppered the action with some truly remarkable jokes, remarkable in the sense that we have the confidence to deliver them, and glued it all together with some genuinely jaw-dropping facts about drinking that you will enjoy sharing with friends in the pub. In short then, the inspiration, as ever, is getting away with it, and we think we might. During the show you get five free drinks, which is less of an inspiration for us but should be one for you to come.

Stand-out Fringe moment to date?

Standing on the Royal Mile with food poisoning. Never has there been a more appropriate reaction to that place than when vomiting all over it. It was a work of art.

When you wished a hole had opened up in the ground and swallowed you up?

When accidentally getting a reviewer on stage during a sketch where a Monk molests the audience member. Twice.

Your unsung heroes in the industry at current?

Us? No one is really singing about us. I suspect our fantastic tech Anna Lambert won’t get the recognition she deserves, she’s truly outstanding, that goes for a lot of the people who work behind the scenes. The people who flyer in the face of punters who, despite sitting in a Fringe venue, still seem to get uptight about being asked if they’d like to go to a show. And anyone who works in a bar, that can sometimes seem like a thankless task during the Fringe.

Three shows you must see this Fringe? 

Honestly? That’s a question for mid-way through, when we get there we try and see a variety of things, which is the key, the circus tent last year was great, we’ve got toddlers, so kid stuff is a useful distraction – think Mr Boom is back at The Speigeltent. But otherwise we tend to wait a week and then learn about what’s best.

The one person you’d love to see your show and why?

I guess the obvious answer is someone with a big television budget who could secure us a ‘TV vehicle’ in Hollywood. But in reality, we might well have to talk to that person after the show, and becoming embroiled in that conversation would certainly detract from the potential of one day living in California. So while it sounds lame, we’d actually be delighted if theatre goers come. As well as an hour of entertainment, we’re keen to get people thinking differently about drink, we’ve been writing about drink for 15 years and part of the show is to help introduce people to new things.

The reason why one should come and see your show?

Five free drinks. Every audience member gets to try a beer we brewed and then a modest measure of great spirits. Five. Free. Drinks.

The one thing in Edinburgh you must do? 

Go to Bramble. It’s one of the best bars in the world.

Ah sorry, you’re dead. But least you can have that dinner party you’ve always wanted. Who are you inviting?

Each other, because, you know, we’re just totally engaging company for an hour. Not the wrestler Andre The Giant, he once drank 116 beers in an evening, we can’t afford to host that sort of appetite. If there is a Jesus he might be useful, he once turned water into beer – not wine… people think it was wine because scholars changed the concept a few hundred years later to make him look more sophisticated. Depending on your belief of Jesus, he would have actually turned water into shekar, a Semitic word meaning ‘strong drink’, meanwhile grain rather than grapes would’ve been more available in that region at the time. So beer, not wine. Either way, a useful trick for a dinner party.

Thinking Drinkers: 8:30pm Underbelly Pasture