Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare

Sh*t faced Shakespeare is a show that revolves entirely around its own unique concept - get a cast of classically trained actors, get one of them drunk, and let hilarity ensue. The hilarity that does ensue however, does not ensue for very long.

If you are looking for a late-night playful shambles this is as good as any.

As the audience enters, the tone is set by blaring music and dancing cast members and technicians. This is to be a anarchic night of unplanned fun and wild hijinks. Two audience members are armed with a gong and a bugle respectively, both of which signal that it is time for the chosen cast member to take another drink. What is not explained is that each can only be used once, leading to someone in the front row attempting to steal back the bugle and force another drink on the unwilling actor. This signals the main failing point of the show - nothing interesting happens.

This would not be a problem, were it not for the fact the show is advertised solely around the fact that the alcohol consumed by the chosen cast member would cause all kinds of high-octane adventures. Instead, what we get is some kind of sweary pantomime. This could work if the show actually did what it says on the tin, and placed a drunk actor in the middle of a group of po-faced actors performing an entirely serious Shakespeare play. Alas, the majority of the other cast members consistently slip up and fool around as much as the chosen drunk, causing there to be no contrast, and soon the audience is just watching what appears to be a sixth-form drama club mid-rehearsal.

There are some genuinely hilarious moments however, such as the inclusion of an audience member to play Crab, the feline foil to Stacey Norris' Lucetta. Lewis Ironside (the unfortunate recipient of the alcohol) is also genuinely funny as Proteus, but watching a drunk man floundering on stage is only entertaining for so long. There is a feeling of real camaraderie on stage, and this often extends as far as the audience - of which many are equally as drunk. This is the problem: although it may be hilarious to watch whilst inebriated, for most, the spectacle of one man forgetting his lines can not fill an hour of entertainment. If you are looking for a late-night playful shambles this is as good as any, but those looking for a more fulfilling performance may have to search elsewhere. 

Reviews by Ed Barnes

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Performances

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The Blurb

An entirely serious Shakespeare play... with an entirely shit-faced actor. Back for another year, the legendary Magnificent Bastard Productions stagger up to Edinburgh with the most raucous Shakespearean performance you'll ever see! With an all new show for 2014, a cast of classically trained actors and a randomly assigned drunk we guarantee you a unique experience that'll leave you gasping for a chaser. So grab thy best fellows, get thee round in good time. For there's virtue in truth and there's truth in good wine. ‘Genuinely hilarious’ (Guardian).'Very rock'n'roll’ (Times).