Sh*t-faced Shakespeare

This pretty much does what it says on the tin. A cast of five play the lovers and Puck from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, assisted by a crowd warming master of ceremonies. The premise is that one of these classically trained actors has consumed an unhealthy amount of alcohol immediately before the show leaving them totally inebriated, whilst the other actors remain sober. It is worth noting at this stage that some people were sceptical as to whether the performer was actually drunk, or merely performing. I can confirm without any shadow of a doubt they were most definitely smashed. There is even a precaution against the actor sobering up on stage, where audience members decide when they should have a top-up, by blowing a whistle or banging a gong.

It should not be underestimated how fully mental this is. It is an incredibly voyeuristic form of entertainment and one which I was determined to dismiss as a facile, immature experiment but despite my initial reservations it was tricky not to be won over by this intriguing production with a fantastic cast. As much fun as it was laughing at the inane babbling and random mind wanderings of the inebriated, the true comedy lay in the abstemious members of the cast and their persistence to plough on with the scene as if everything was normal. You felt convinced that the show would be derailed at any minute which added great excitement and tension to the performance. Although it wasn’t the case for this particular one, surely over the entire run there must be some major hitches.

Regardless, the performers were adept at improvising the Shakespearean language as and when necessary and were not afraid to bend the text to fit their intoxicated companion’s actions much to the delight of the crowd. If the concept appeals to you then the show almost certainly will as it delivers everything it suggests on paper. A puerile yet innovative, disgusting yet hilarious take on the bard’s work.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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The Blurb

An entirely serious Shakespeare play ... with an entirely sh*t-faced actor. The legendary Tax Deductible Theatre stagger back to the Fringe with the most raucous Shakespearean performance you'll ever witness! 'Genuinely hilarious' (Guardian). 'Very rock'n'roll' (Times). www.taxdeductible.co.uk.

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