Thirsty @ Pleasance Courtyard

Go on, take a drink

Feature by Colin Chaloner | 22 Aug 2011
  • Thirsty @ Pleasance Courtyard

Within seconds of lights up, Kinky Kylie is in an audience member's lap and Juicy Jemma is asking another to sign her midriff, both replete with L-plates and bridal veils and obviously lashed. I wondered whether they were mocking laddette culture, whether this was Vicky Pollard style middle-class snobbery at work, but what emerges over the next hour is a sensitive and insightful look at Britain’s relationship with alcohol.

The Paper Birds are an outstanding company, creating brave, entertaining, socially engaged theatre that draws on verbatim accounts to find a mix of perspectives that are rarely heard elsewhere. Thirsty takes in everything from the village pub to the karaoke bar, the hen night or the quiet couple enjoying a bottle of wine together. All of this is brilliantly realised through inventive lighting, staging and a mix of text based performance and physical theatre which transforms the set - three piss drenched toilet cubicles - into a dorm, a street, a middle class couple's lounge, a nightclub and more.

Occasionally it can stray into mawkish doe-eyed sincerity when the wistful Twilight style piano accompaniment strikes up, and this can make it difficult to take them as seriously as you'd like, but this is a minor criticism of a company whose instincts are correct 99 times out of 100. Thirsty is honest, critical and funny throughout, but also hard going at times, and whether you drink or not, you’ll likely recognise something of yourself in Thirsty.

17.45, 21 - 28 Aug

Pleasance Courtyard