It is always refreshing when theatre intertwines with our human reality, especially during grand spectacles like the Edinburgh Festival. This year, Callum Hughes and Fake Escape present ‘Thirst’, an autobiographical play that invites you into the compelling journey of a high-functioning alcoholic grappling with addiction in the music industry and his newfound sobriety. Set to appear at the Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker 3, from 2nd to 28th August 2023, this production promises a memorable blend of storytelling and music that touches the heart, tickles the mind, and ultimately lifts the human spirit.

Writer and performer, Callum Hughes, brings to life his own personal experiences with an intimate and sympathetic narration. Amidst laughs and silent retrospections, the audience is guided through the timeline of Hughes’ struggles with alcohol, his deep relationship with music, and the ultimate realisation that not all passions serve us well.

Callum Hughes Performing Thirst. Credit: Terra City One

Callum Hughes, Credit: Terra City One

Rather than focusing on a rock bottom moment, Hughes paints an authentic portrait of the harmful reality of being a functioning alcoholic. ‘Thirst’ portrays the insidious side of the gig industry, often drowned out by the limelight. This, he does, strumming his guitar and performing original music.

The ’27 Club’, famously comprised of talented artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse, who tragically lost their lives at 27, serves as a backdrop to Hughes’ story. He was just two months shy of his 28th birthday when he nearly joined this notorious list. Hughes’ journey from a small town in Oxfordshire to the bustling city lights of the ‘Big Smoke’ reveals an intricate path of self-discovery, love, and redemption.

Following a successful UK tour that included a sold-out performance in Bristol and a highly praised four-night run at VAULT Festival 2022, ‘Thirst’ is ready to captivate the Edinburgh Festival audience. Hughes hopes his play will not only entertain but also shed light on the often misunderstood narrative of addiction.

Fake Escape, a theatre company founded in 2013, is proud to present ‘Thirst’. Known for spearheading new artistic projects that entertain, engage and initiate dialogue among audiences and theatre practitioners alike, Fake Escape has seen over a dozen productions across various locations including Edinburgh, London, and Paris. The company continues its mission of fostering new-age theatre by presenting another performance, ‘Raising Kane’, at the Edinburgh Festival.

‘Thirst’ was co-directed by Roann McCloskey and David Shopland 

It is performing at Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker 3, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ
From 2 to 28 August (not 14 or 21)

Previews 2 – 3 Aug
Fri – Mon £13.50 standard/ £12.00 concessions |

Tues – Thurs £9.50 standard / £11.50 concessions

Credit: Terra City One


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