Shit-faced Shakespeare

I first heard of Shit-faced Shakespeare when I performed my first Edinburgh Fringe play back in 2013; it was one of those plays that ‘everyone was talking about’ and of course my curiosity led me to the box office in hope to seize a ticket and see it before the end of the Fringe. To my disappointment the show had sold out, but at long last I got to see it at Brighton Fringe this year at The Warren.

The unfortunate actor playing Sir Valentine drew the short straw on this particular evening and his level of inebriation was immediately obvious from the second he entered. The audience immediately engaged as we laughed from the get-go.

For those who are unfamiliar with the show, the clue is in the title. A Shakespearean play (it is unclear which play it will be) is performed by a group of actors with one particular individual being completely intoxicated. Yes, completely drunk! It sounds like such a ridiculous idea but it's amazing how far an audience can be entertained by the sight of someone falling about the stage trying to gather themselves and deliver their lines. This year, the chosen play was The Two Gentlemen of Verona, one many aren’t particularly familiar with. However, this was not necessary at all. In fact anyone who had little to no knowledge of Shakespeare or his plays could happily attend this production without any worry of misunderstanding as the focus was primarily on the single person who stumbled and slurred.

The unfortunate actor playing Sir Valentine drew the short straw on this particular evening and his level of inebriation was immediately obvious from the second he entered. The audience immediately engaged as we laughed from the get-go. As the actor became more inebriated, audience participation heightened as heckles and chants of “down it” and “chug” became a regular occurrence (I was guilty myself of a few shouted encouragements). In order to not detract from the show, the trusty narrator was at hand to placate the rowdy crowd with witty interjections of “this isn't a rugby match!”. The show staggered through every scene which involved the appearance of Sir Valentine and when the other more sober actors took to the stage it felt like a completely different play. For those sober members of cast, it was their job to move the show along, which often meant pushing Sir Valentine offstage or clarifying his mispronounced lines.

The show has an appropriate time slot of 9.30, which gives plenty of time to get a few drinks yourself so by the time you’ve comfortably found your seat you’re ready to go. It truly was a brilliant atmosphere and there was a real buzz for some entertainment which the Magnificent Bastard team really catered for. Unfortunately they did start 25 minutes late, which may count for the handful of audience members getting up to leave. However, this shouldn't discourage you from seeing the show. As far as the show that ‘everyone was talking about’ back in Edinburgh, I can honestly say it lived up to my expectation at this years Brighton Fringe. 

Reviews by Lucy Skinner

Underbelly, Cowgate

Where Do Little Birds Go?

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Trainspotting

★★★★
C venues - C nova

These Troubled Times

Assembly George Square Gardens

Le Haggis

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

An entirely serious Shakespeare play, with an entirely shitfaced actor. The legendary Magnificent Bastard Productions stagger down to Brighton with the most raucous Shakespearean performance ever! With an all new show for 2015, a cast of classically trained actors and a randomly assigned drunk what can go wrong? So grab thy best fellows, get thee round in good time. For there's virtue in truth and there's truth in good wine.