There is an honesty, a truth to Shakespeare’s words and those actors who convey such sentiment with a suitable reverence and soberness. As their name suggests, the company currently performing at the Leicester Square Theatre brings their own kind of take: a shitfaced one. What ensues is a boozy, bawdy version of the Bard, which guarantees to be fun and different every night.
Shitfaced Shakespeare is very simple: the company takes a classic play by Shakespeare and attempts to perform it in an hour. I say attempt, 1) because it’s a lot to get through in an hour, and 2) because, well, they are called Shitfaced for a reason. One of the company is drunk. Each night, the person drinking alternates (partly to provide a different experience for the audience each night, more so to spare the poor actors’ livers!)
The production opens with a line up of sorts, in which the audience is immediately able to point out the drunk culprit. They open with a jig. And as if the slightly off beat dance moves wasn’t sigh enough, David Ellis’s plastered smile on his face was a pretty good clue also. That day, he’d had half a bottle of Captain Morgan’s and three fosters before the show started and would be drinking two more as the evening progressed. Audience participation is part and parcel of Shitfaced productions and lucky audience members are given a horn and drum to sound and get the actor to drink even more. One less lucky member of the audience in the front row is given a bucket. I think you can see where this is going…
As the hour progresses, you are treated to a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For the purposes of timing, this one is condensed to the main ‘lovers’ plot, though I think they missed a trick excluding the final Mechanicals plot! To see a drunk Pyramus, Thisbe or Wall would be a treat! Every night, obviously, is different depending on the drunk in question: for example, our night had ‘Jew hands’, revelations one cast member pissing themselves, and an impromptu Game of Thrones singalong! The other actors hold the whole thing together, driving the plot along and feeding lines to the drunk actor, while proceedings are overseen by another. It’s their job to keep the actor and audience safe. And having seen Shitfaced Showtime at the Fringe, it’s often a case of both!
Verdict: That which hath made them drunk hath made me laugh! A great night out!
Shitfaced Shakespeare is playing until the 8th June at the Leicester Square Theatre. To book tickets, visit the theatre’s website or for more information about Magnificent Bastard Productions, visit their website.