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Adelaide Fringe 2014

A Brief History of Beer

Wish Experience

Genre: Mainstream Theatre

Venue: The Wheatsheaf Hotel, 39 George Street, Thebarton,


Low Down

William Glenn and Trish Parry are beer lovers who share their knowledge and love for beer through presentations, role-playing and narrative. Fuelled by their passion and copious amounts of humble beverage they begin the journey at the dawn of time when cavemen first discovered and created the brew in its basic form.


After a brief encounter with the cavemen who first brewed beer Glenn and Parry take the audience to Ancient Egypt, Europe in the Middle Ages, England during the Industrial Revolution, Colonial America, the Franco-Prussian war, the Prohibition era, the psychedelic seventies, and end back in 21st century Australia. It is an interesting and eventful hour filled with facts about beer, quaffing of beer and generally appreciating beer in all its forms and its surprisingly significant contribution to society.


Glenn and Parry pull off the literal brief history of beer with their enthusiasm and energy. They take the audience on a journey through time and space using multimedia to break up the monotony of having two presenters narrating facts and stories, and encourage audience participation in the united swigging of beer.


They use humour and role-playing to enact historical scenes and interpretation of events, which could have been more memorable had they scripted notable scenes and anecdotes that incorporated the facts about beer—the pair succeeded with their elucidation of Louis Pasteur’s discovery of bacteria that encouraged the fermentation process, and Saint Bridget, the Irish patron saint of beer.


The journey touched on the Prohibition era and English public houses, which could have benefitted from the same role-playing treatment and wit that the audience experienced at the beginning. Although the pair built rapport with the audience through their casual interaction and dialogue, the text was oversimplified and over justified; however Glenn’s zeal and Parry’s dynamism was infectious and the audience enjoyed the banter between the two.


The Wheatsheaf Hotel is the perfect venue for such a show with a variety of beers that’s sure to please everyone who visits. The stage was decorated with lights and the projection screen that provided the backdrop to and set the scene for a surreal experience that is a cross between Star Trek and a dialled down version of the Mighty Boosh. Overall, it was an enjoyable performance that all beer lovers will appreciate.


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