Take a bunch of classically trained actors, rehearse a Shakespeare play, then give one of the cast members their alcohol of choice before the show begins, and you have to be, or not to be Sh!t-faced Shakespeare!
Our Compere, Jessica Brindle, welcomes us to the highly comfortable Leicester Square Theatre for a madcap night of entertainment and explains the rules of the show. Over the course of the show, the “drunk” actor may be given additional drinks by audience members if it appears like they are sobering up! One audience member can toot a horn and another bang a gong respectively and the ever-solicitous compere will rush on and top the actor up with another beer an audience member is also given a bucket in case said actor feels sick.
On the night I attended, the unlucky (or lucky, depending on your perspective) inebriate was Richard Hughes as Romeo, we were shown he had a few beers and some gin, to be honest it would take more than that for me to be sh!t faced so I was surprised how stumbly and giggly Richard was, what a lightweight! Obviously forgetting his lines and walking into scenery we saw a new take on the Bard’s classic work – involving an obsession with cannibalism! Definitely not the Shakespeare that I was taught in school.
After a trip to the bar in the interval the show started again and the Friar played by Christopher Lane had some very funny moments in the second half using a rather dodgy Irish accent! The humour was cheeky and the ad-libs and mayhem caused were hilarious.
Stacey Norris, John Mitton and Jessica Brindle also join the cast and dealt well with the change in direction and pace of the well known tale in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. The actors rotate the drinking actor so that each of them never drinks more than 4 times a month. This means you would get a different take every time so each show is highly unique! If you’re looking for your friend to be dragged on stage and made fun of make sure you get a front row seat.
Beyond the drunken shenanigans the set is high quality: the costumes, the props, the lighting and the venue was really nice. If you’re a traditionalist Shakespeare aficionado this probably isn’t for you but for everyone in the Theatre on the night I went found it thoroughly funny, very entertaining and spontaneously silly. I think the bard would have approved. Grab your ruff and a pint (or two) and head to The Leicester Square Theatre as all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players, or drunks?!?
For tickets to see Sh!t-faced Shakespeare visit www.shitfacedshakespeare.com.