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Fringe review: The Thinking Drinkers: Pub Crawl @ Underbelly Bristo Square

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Having heard rave reviews for the Thinking Drinkers at the Fringe over the years, I was excited to see their educational comedy show and experience the variety of drinks on offer too.

Held in a lecture-theatre-turned-Fringe-venue in the Old Medical School at Teviot, Ben and Tom guide the audience through a history of alcohol, drinking and the pub intermingled with five free drinks, singing, cricket and puns.

Image: Gaby Gerrard PR

Since tickets are £13 at full-price, it does work out to be good value for the free drinks – you get a can of beer, plus four shots of (fairly expensive) spirits. The Drinkers encourage you to take the shots as sips, engaging with the flavours and aromas, which as a student I’d never done before with straight alcohol! Each drink is accompanied by an educational tidbit about a particular country (often associated with the drink), or a type of pub/drinking establishment, and the information is genuinely interesting. This is the first show I’ve seen that has successfully managed to combine informative facts with funny comedy (plus the alcohol aspect), which is quite the feat.

Although most comedy shows at the Fringe make an attempt (with varying success) to engage with audience members, the Drinkers do it in the style of a children’s show. From encouraging audience members to cheer and clap along, to asking for their opinions on various jokes using particular hand gestures, to inviting members of the audience onto the stage – it never seems awkward or patronising and adds to the overall enjoyment of the show.

A key point that Pub Crawl makes is that the pub is in decline, with three local pubs closing every day. The Thinking Drinkers have created a petition to save the pub industry, and are promoting this as part of their show. You can find out more and sign the petition here.

If, like many, you want to spend a night drinking and enjoying yourself at the Fringe, you won’t get much better value for money than seeing Pub Crawl. Effortlessly mixing comedy, drinking and education, the Thinking Drinkers have created an excellent show which any pub-goer should endeavour to see this festival.


The Thinking Drinkers: Pub Crawl is at Underbelly Bristo Square at 8.35pm until August 26th. For tickets and more information click here.

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