#EdFringeBinge Review: Shit-Faced Showtime ****

Finally, we reach the last in my series of #EdFringeBinge show reviews. And it’s the turn of Shit-Faced Showtime, from the Magnificent Bastard Productions. If the title sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Those magnificent bastards over at Magnificent Bastards Productions were the brains behind the critically acclaimed Shit-Faced Shakespeare, predecessor to this new production.

Staging a musical show-stopper extravaganza, we have one compere and four actors. One of whom is completely pissed. Hilarity ensues. And if you don’t believe me, this is the tweet from said drunk actor the day after:

We went on Monday 10th August, and our night’s entertainment started with our compere showing us how much the drunk actor had consumed before the show: one bottle of gin and half a bottle of white wine. The four actors then came on stage for the opening number, a song imploring the audience to behave: ‘Please Don’t’. In what resembled a police line up, it wasn’t long until our drunk perp was discovered. I say it wasn’t long, as the second our drunk actor for the evening Leejay Townsend stepped onstage he tripped, swayed, missed the first cue and spent his solo in the song just going: ‘Don’t…DONNNNN’T…no’.

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Audience participation is a key part of this show. Those lucky enough to be selected at the start are given either a xylophone or recorder which hold great power: if said audience member doesn’t think the actor is drunk enough, when they play that instrument at any point in the show, the drunk actor must drink even more. But with great power comes great responsibility, and it’s up to those audience members to pick the perfect timing. Our xylophonist picked the very start, just as the opening number came to an end. And from then on out, it was chaos! Word to the wise though: there is one other audience participation element involved in the show and if you are handed a bucket, well, good luck with that!

The compere did a good job of overseeing it all. In addition to providing the narration, musical interlude, accompaniments and alcohol, our compere also had to make sure nothing untoward happened to the drunk actor, and that he didn’t do anything untoward. If this did happen, a dramatic piece of music would sound, heralding for the offending party to stop. Needless to say, this played a few times! Also, kudos for coming up with songs on the spot when Townsend first demanded ‘a sea shanty’, then went ‘NO, not that one’, and then a Britney song.

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The three sober actors to their credit did great. Their singing was never compromised, and they improvised very well against the drunk one among them. Particularly when he sat on stage during scenes he wasn’t supposed to be in: ‘Oh look dear, it’s a drunk in the park’. Songs from various musicals appear in this production: ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’, ‘Don’t Tell Mama’, and many others. All were performed pitch perfect…save for the ones by the drunk, namely ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’. Or as he sang it:

SIT DOWN…

SIT.

Said to myself.

SIT THERE.

As for our drunk actor Townsend, well he seemed to be having a great time. Very liberating. So liberating in fact that he took his trousers off! Other highlights include when he fell down the stairs whacking the set, then came on midway through the next song, trousers down saying: ‘I’M BLEEDING’. That and the ending: having taken his trousers off AGAIN, he ran into the audience. Now, we were seated in a university lecture theatre, with benches/tables in front of us. After hearing the warning tune playing, Townsend proceeded to escape from the compere chasing him, crawling across the bench and getting people to pull him along. Then as the final song came on, he jumped from bench to bench to get back to the stage. And thankfully one Twitter user caught this moment on camera for posterity:

And then his big finish: taking his pants off. Which genuinely seemed to shock his fellow actors. Of course he came back for an encore…albeit unexpected, without any clothes on.. That’s one way to end a show!

Verdict or rather WARNING: this show contains a shitfaced actor, showstopping numbers and suspenders which are unable to keep somebody’s trousers up! Will have you singing: ONE DRINK MORRRRE!

Shit-Faced Showtime is playing until the 31st August at the Underbelly Med Quad venue. For tickets, see the EdFringe website.

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