‘I feel that it’s only fair to confess that I’m writing this review in a state of profound inebriation. “Plus ça change”, I hear those who know me best chorus (which is a little harsh, if probably mostly fair). In this case, however, I have been imbibing in my capacity as theatrical reviewer.
Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham are “drinks journalists”. This was not an option that my school career adviser presented as a possibility when I was a lad. Together they have written and presented a number of grog-related live comedy shows and the latest of these, ‘The History of Alcohol’ arrived to lubricate the Swindon Art Centre.
The history of mankind and drink is a long, and McFarland and Sandham propose, a mainly positive one. One of the reasons our ancestors originally climbed down from the tree was to feast on naturally-fermented berries for the alcoholic buzz. Since then the consumption ethanol-based beverages has influenced everything including wars, great innovations and even the adoption of Christianity as the national state religion by Vladamir the Great of Russia.
During the course of the evening the audience were plied with Venezuelan rum, Suffolk gin, 10 year old whisky, Polish vodka and British craft lager. The idea, however, was not to reduce the crowd into a state of inebriated pliancy. The motto of the Thinking Drinkers is ‘Drink Less, but Drink Better’. We were presented with quality liquor and encouraged to smell, sip and taste the spirits and appreciate their flavour.
Not all the audience did, obviously. Especially not the ne’er-do-wells in (I think) row ‘S’ who were taking double measures, strictly against polite instruction. Shame on you.
And there was a lot more to enjoy in the show than the free hooch. Our hosts presented a raucous yet educational night with audience participation that ended in a conga line. After that we headed out into the night on slightly unsteady legs with the intention to carry on drinking less, but drinking better.
Well, drinking better anyway.
For more of my thoughts on matters theatrical or otherwise, you can find my blog at summers2theb.wordpress.com. Warning, contains foul language, ill-considered opinions and suspect grammar.