Magnificent Bastard Productions have become a hit at the Fringe throughout the last few years with their productions of
Follow the Shit-Faced team down the Yellow Brick Road, and you never know where you might end up
The premise is simple: 5 classically-trained musical theatre performers set out to perform The Wizard Of Oz, but one of them is, predictably, shit-faced. It is, however, a different actor each night that has drunk far too much. This is to avoid liver failure and, of course, to keep the performers on their toes. We have a ring master guiding us along the way and to avoid any bodily fluids being spilled, and of course to keep the drunk from sobering up.
Having seen Shit-Faced Shakespeare before, I was nervous, but this is a completely different ballgame. It is definitely not The Wizard Of Oz as we know it; combining songs from the original, plus The Wiz and Wicked, but that’s where the genius lies. We start the journey at the beginning (it’s a very good place to start) but there are not necessarily any boundaries about where we end up, as there is less structure than a Shakespeare classic. The cast are able to play and totally accept the drunk’s suggestions for plot change and opinions on what the cast are wearing.
Tonight’s drunk was playing both the Cowardly Lion and Glinda The Good Witch. And she tried, at least to begin with. The plot soon unravelled but the cast joined her on her prosecco-soaked journey, changing the plot and props where necessary. The Scarecrow was a War Criminal. Dorothy needed a green leg gun. The Cowardly Lion was in love with Toto. So special.
The rest of the cast were equally as good. A particular moment of joy was realising the pianist was also playing the Wicked Witch. The gender swapping really adds to the chaotic nature of the show. Their voices were great, and despite the drunk’s attempts, managed to stay in tune for the majority of the show! The ring master at tonight’s show could perhaps have been a little more authoritative, especially with the rowdy crowd that Shit-Faced attracts. Literally anything can happen (as it definitely did in this performance, with the house literally falling down minutes into the show) and as an audience we needed someone strong to guide us.
That being said, it's an enjoyable, late night show, with solid performances all around. Follow the Shit-Faced team down the Yellow Brick Road, and you never know where you might end up!