It’s not too likely that a straight production of
An outrageous evening which will have you dabbing tears away from laughing too hard.
The format really took off with Shit-Faced Shakespeare by the same company, and to my mind attaching this premise to a musical makes it even funnier: the potential to go wrong now extends past forgetting lines and cues to choreography, singing and (in the case of tonight’s drunkard) playing the piano. Yes, tonight we’re treated to a pissed performance from the protagonist actor himself, making the fairly bland protagonist Frederic certainly more memorable. Tonight for one night only, Frederic produces whole monologues on the subject of forgetting a line and mashes up the score with impromptu Ariana Grande. It’s completely disruptive and chaotic- yet I couldn’t help but snort and giggle as he staggered between scenes with an incredibly long-suffering cast of co-performers.
The show is dealt with suitable precaution as delivered in a pre-show spiel which makes it clear that the actors are kept from danger despite the amount of alcohol consumed. The whole opening patter feels reminiscent of a T4 segment (although with more charisma than the old T4 models presenters)- it’s fun, young and likely to get pretty zany at some point. The experience is raucous and lively, but it does prove quite precarious as a musical when the drunkard is still interrupting the Modern Major General. The experience is a physically and emotionally draining one, whether you’re in hysterics throughout or wondering what the hell is going on in the plot – I’d recommend a quick skim of the plot on Wikipedia if you’ve never seen Pirates of Penzance before.
It’s clear that Shit-Faced Showtime is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea – if you’re the designated driver in your friendship circle, odds are this will be aggravating and grating. If you like seeing a fair few mishaps in your musical theatre, however, it’s an outrageous evening which will have you dabbing tears away from laughing too hard. The cast handle the situation with a good sense of when to play up to the drunkard and when to shush him, and within the mayhem you’ll hear some really great singing solos.