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Whisk(e)y Wars


Whisk(e)y Wars


52 West Port (Just off of Grassmarket)
Main Room: AUG 4-7, 9-14, 16 at 19:00 (60 min) - Pay What You Can

Whisk(e)y Wars


Tragedy. Treachery. The perfect single malt


Join Tam Tully as she fights to save her Ulster family whiskey distillery from ruin by crafting the Holy Grail of whiskey, the perfect single malt.

Joyce Greenaway premiered her solo with Laughing Horse @freefringefest during the pandemic and is delighted to be returning for a longer run in 2022 after London. East Sussex and the Brighton Fringe.

Whisk(e) y Wars: Told with Northern Irish wit and an understated acting style, Greenaway’s first show at the fringe breaks free from the Fleabag formula which seems to dominate a lot of one-woman shows. It is an unusual and original tale, and Greenaway’s innovation and talent embodies the spirit of the Fringe. (EdFringeReview 2021)

This year we have two entry methods: Free & Unticketed or Pay What You Can
Free & Unticketed: Entry to a show is first-come, first served at the venue - just turn up and then donate to the show in the collection at the end.
Pay What You Can: For these shows you can book a ticket to guarantee entry and choose your price from the Fringe Box Office, up to 30 mins before a show. After that all remaining space is free at the venue on a first-come, first-served bases. Donations for walk-ins at the end of the show.

News and Reviews for this Show

August 10, 2022    Ed Fringe Review

Thomas Messner:

At the outset of her blistering one-woman show, Joyce Greenaway declares whiskey to be pure emotion distilled and bottled. Deeming the milestone appropriate for the situation, this reviewer had himself drunk his first whisky (a significant distinction from Greenaway’s Irish spirits, given the Edinburgh pub in which the intimate performance was fittingly held). While said first drink was so overpowering that I cannot wholly attest to the truth of this claim, what I can say for certain is that the drink’s pellucid potency proves to be strongly redolent of the show itself.

Throughout, Greenaway’s show blends casual, conversational tones with commanding theatricality; a consummate storyteller sharing anecdotes over drinks with fellow barflies. The tale she recounts is a vivid intergenerational epic centred on the family of one Tam Tully. She cycles through disappointing fathers, little-known grandparents, much beloved daughters and the Ulster distillery that binds them all together. So unassumingly eloquent and precise is her imagery that one can picture it clearly without the slightest effort. However, the clearest picture painted is of Tully herself.

At varying points, Greenaway’s alter ego is warmly funny, wearily resigned and on fire with righteous fury. In the monologue’s painful last act, Tully oscillates from a primal scream of anger to an immediate, nigh uncanny regaining of her wry composure. The moment is a startling testament to Greenaway’s exacting control of her material, and to the ability of a lone performer to conjure an atmosphere hypnotic enough to seemingly stop time itself. Indeed, when Greenaway stands at the show’s conclusion for a brief, self-effacing rundown of the process behind Tam Tully’s creation, the effect is that of a magician pulling back the curtain on their act. For a moment, one is taken aback to realise that the story she’s been telling is not in fact of her own life, or at least not as much as we thought. However, this does nothing to diminish the immersive power of the preceding performance. For an hour, the only discernible sounds are Greenaway’s voice and, fittingly, the bustle of the other patrons out front. Perhaps they are abuzz with stories of their own, though they are unlikely to be as well told.

Meg Erridge:

It is rare to find a story-teller capable of enthralling an entire audience for 90 minutes with nothing more than words and a glass of whiskey. This is not a show with glitzy props and special effects. Instead, Joyce Greenway relies on sheer talent in this stripped-back, one-woman family saga.

Clamber upstairs to a pokey backroom of the Dragonfly pub, and you are met by Tam Tully (Greenway), an unassuming character sipping a whiskey as she reels you in with tales of the family distillery. Spanning several generations, we learn of the Tully family’s struggle to keep the distillery afloat, a struggle steeped in lies, love, and deceit. However, it is Tam, sweet Northern Irish girl turned ‘difficult woman’, with whom we really fall in love. She is so totally believable as a character that I did question whether the tale I was being told was fact or fiction. I was genuinely shocked when, at the end of the show, Greenway broke character and described writing Tam’s story in three days over lockdown. It’s hard to decide whether Greenway shines most as a writer or an actor, so restrained and poised is she as both.

Whisk(e)y Wars has all the charm of a story one might be pulled aside and told in the corner of a darkened pub, but it never feels slow or stuck in the past. Greenway knows just when to move on, and her understated, yet highly emotive delivery keeps the audience rivetted. Situating this family tale within a political landscape (The Troubles, Brexit, the Coronavirus pandemic) keeps the story vital, and stops it from slipping into the hazy backwash of the past. But, be warned: described as a comedy, Whisk(e)y Wars is packed with charm and wit, but don’t go expecting light entertainment. I was on the brink of tears for the majority of the show, and I’ve watched Bambi without so much as a furrowed brow!

Whisk(e)y Wars is hard to fault. It stands confidently against the trend for maximalist, fast-paced drama which is always on a quest to break boundaries and discover the next new thing. Ironically given its traditional tone and format, I have never seen anything quite like Whisk(e)y Wars, and probably never will again. My only complaint is that there is not more of Greenway’s work to see. Click Here For Review