How To Drink Wine Like A Wanker @ Summerhall

How To Drink Wine Like A Wanker is a curious hour of entertainment that is more than just a wine tasting

Review by Isabella Thomspon | 22 Aug 2023
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How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker is a multi-sensory theatre experience by Anna Thomas, providing audiences with the opportunity to taste six wines from the South Australian region, each with a part to play in Thomas’ personal story. 

Just like any good tasting, Thomas kicks off the session with subtler flavours before gradually introducing fuller bodied wines, much like her approach as she develops her narrative. Combining feminism and wine tasting sounds like a tall order, but Thomas’ niche comparison between the grapes' adversarial environment and her own experiences of sexism in the male-dominated corporate world is mostly successful. 

Regretfully, we must address some logistical drawbacks of the piece. Call us cheap, but it feels a little cheeky that the performance space is set up like a wine tasting, suggesting the wine’s centrality to the overall experience, and yet the wine is an extra £10 on top of the £13 ticket fee. The impression is that, were you not to pay and thus not participate in tasting the wines that Thomas introduces, the show would become an hour of torturous voyeurism as you watch everyone else enjoying the subtle flavours she describes.

The concept of the experience, however, is inspired, and there is ample potential for it to work. Not only does the audience’s knowledge of South Australian wine broaden, but they are also met with the opportunity to connect with Thomas’ story, both of which find solace in a glass. Her struggle to escape a toxic work environment whilst balancing life as a single mother is relatable to many; however, the atmosphere lacks a sense of intimacy and warmth that would create a more welcoming environment for Thomas’ well-crafted anecdotes. A more genial tone would have aided Thomas’ charisma and ability to connect even more effectively with the audience, avoiding a slip into TED Talk territory. 

Overall, How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker is a well-written piece that would make good use of some amendments to its execution. The show is sure to engage those who are inquisitive about the wine industry.

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker, Summerhall (Dissection Room), until 27 Aug, 1pm, £11-13 (£21-23 with wine)