by James Graham
The Whisky Taster is a contemporary, subtle and witty exploration of feeling and perception in the modern world of advertising. Moving from monochrome to technicolour, James Graham's latest play is about seeing things too clearly in a city that never stands still. Barney and Nicola are advertising wonder kids. They win accounts with wit, charm and a secret weapon: Barney's ability to feel, smell and taste colours, and to translate these sensations into words. Lately Barney has been finding things far too colourful and wishes his full throttle London life was more black and white, but Nicola is hell bent on winning accounts at all costs. When the two hire an old Scottish Whisky Taster to help them with a new campaign, the enigmatic and mysterious figure slows the Londoners to a stop with his strange wisdom, just as the deadline looms. This play explores perception, sensitivity and feeling through the neurological condition synesthesia. Whilst the characters thrive on the surface with witty banter and accomplished advertising pitches, their real lives threaten to intrude with a deeper, darker vein of seriousness and potential despair. When every sensation can be turned into a marketable, profitable brand, they start to lose sight of the real value of experience.