Shit-faced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

“Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.”

It's daft, it's rude, it's often witty and it's usually riotously good fun

The Shit-faced formula has been reliably churning out popular shows since 2010 and has become a much loved staple of the Fringe. It's daft, it's rude, it's often witty and it's usually riotously good fun.

Re-working Romeo and Juliet down to an hour, this production gives us swords, swoons and feathered hats in abundance. It holds on to enough of the iconic dialogue to feel like a serious abridgement at times and playfully tugs the rest of the play to bits. Then it arranges for one member of the cast to get absolutely shredded, wasted, smashed… in short: Shit-faced.

Tonight it's Maryam Grace's endearingly filthy Juliet that ends up tanked up, half naked and covered in banana. It makes you wonder how serious a mishap or injury would have to occur before the audience stopped laughing at our poor inebriate. Incidentally, if she isn't as drunk as we are led to believe, she gives a brilliant performance of being so.

It would be easy to get slightly po-faced about Magnificent Bastards' bastardisation of the Bard's tales, but the atmosphere is exactly as I imagine The Globe in 1599. Shouting, laughing, drinking and harassing the cast, the crowd is living and loving the story. Love can prove variable though and that is the inherent strength and weakness of this format.

The outcome tonight was just rather disappointing. There was a slight flatness to the performance and Juliet's disruptions were expected and accepted with amused resignation rather than delight or horror. There were only a few moments of uncontrollable laughter and little freshness. It was inevitable that dead, drunk Juliet wasn't going to be as corpse-like as required by the time we got to the Capulet tomb.

As we left the theatre, some were bemused, some were glowing. There is still a huge amount to enjoy about this production and it fills the entertainment niche it was originally intended to be - a good night out. 

Reviews by Julia French

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Performances

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The Blurb

Once again Shit-faced Shakespeare returns to its seaside home of Brighton with another all-new show for 2017: 'Romeo and Juliet'! Featuring a cast of professional actors, one of Shakespeare’s most beloved classics and a single, completely rat-arsed performer every night... What could possibly go right? The award-winning, smash-hit, international sell-out, occasionally well-reviewed show is back for its fifth straight year at Brighton Fringe and is bigger, bolder, bawdier and more drunken than ever.