Anna Thomas is the writer and performer of How to Drink Wine Like A Wanker. The story is based on a period of time where she ran wine tours without having much wine knowledge of her own. Thomas has also directed herself, which seems to have limited the show’s development. There’s certainly some obvious repetition that doesn’t add to the blend.
If you have a somewhat serious interest in wine, the show might not give as much insight as you would like. The flight of wines sampled (at additional cost) were (sorta) worked into the monologue as Thomas recounted experiences where a varietal intersected with a life event. Thomas advised that she had a background in the business world, and at times some of her pronouncements about certain wine styles seemed more the words of a marketer than an enthusiast.
Perhaps our expectations haven’t been appropriately managed. Some will find that the show’s entry in the paper Fringe guide means the label doesn’t accurately describe what’s in the bottle. Certainly the show is less light and frothy than the “mostly ridiculous” description it assigned itself. The online Fringe guide is more instructive, as it notes that the work contains “potentially triggering content or themes, including Sexual Harassment, Misogyny, miscarriage.”
I saw this work shortly after seeing Bryony Kimmings in (the sometimes-stunning and surprising) I’m a Phoenix, Bitch on Sunday, and Passionate Machine to start off this Fringe Monday. It might be that autobiography which doesn’t stretch much beyond the performer’s personal experience has lost some appeal in an era where almost everyone is an autobiographer.
In Fringes as in wine drinking, it doesn’t matter so much if you don’t get what you expected as long as what eventuates is satisfying. We might say that How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker is more of a quaffer than a life-changing experience. Still, the selection of wine was interesting, and Thomas capably delivered her monologue.
How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker
The Universal Restaurant, 141 Lygon Street, Carlton
Performance: Monday 16 September 2019 – 7.00pm
Season continues to 24 September 2019
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au
Image: How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte