The Imbible – A Spirited History of Drinking – November 2, 2019

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The invention of alcohol (in all its forms) has been an important component throughout human history, as I learned in The Imbible – A Spirited History of Drinking, and its evolution from a necessary beverage for everyone (including children) to a social drink for adults (and a rite of passage for teenagers/new adults). I first learned about this show through the YouTube series “Broadway Bartender” and was fascinated by the idea of a musical about the history of drinking. The tickets were acquired through the TDF Pik-a-TKS table at the BC/EFA Flea Market and was excited and curious about the concept of the show.

The Imbible plays off-Broadway in “the Green Room” at the New World Stages and includes three complementary drinks – the drinks served at the performance I attended were a Shandy (IPA beer mixed with ginger ale), a Whisky Sour and a Gin and Tonic. The show blended history, science and (presumably public domain) songs sung a cappella by bartender/narrator Chris O’Neill, accompanied by backwaiters Emily Ott, Matthew Boyd and Nicole Pietrangelo. The show was equally entertaining and educational and had a Reduced Shakespeare Company vibe to it – the cast of four also bantered with one another, clothed in various ad-hoc historical costumes with equally ad-hoc props, and invited and reacted to audience participation, not to mention taking a large topic (the history of drinking) and distilling it (pun intended) into a roughly two-hour show.

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Considering the subject material, The Imbible is for theatergoers of legal drinking age (which is 21+ in the US, though it’s curious that the show did not explicitly touch upon that criteria), and is a great crash course in learning about the relationship and impact of alcohol on humanity and its scientific evolution from a chemical solution to mixed drinks.

Did I mention that there are three complementary (full sized) drinks?

I’ll drink to that.

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