Sh!tfaced Shakespeare is exactly what it says on the packet: There are five actors, all classically trained, and one is absolutely trolleyed. Since the show was launched 2010, they boast having entertained over 200,000 theatre goers in the UK, US and Australia, and having drunk over 20,000 units!
The Compere bursts onto the stage with the announcement that for this performance of Romeo and Juliet the mystery drunk actor has consumed a bottle of prosecco and half a bottle of vodka. And he presented three audience members with a gong, a trumpet and a bucket. The gong and trumpet were to be sounded if the drunk actor was becoming ‘too sober’, the bucket didn’t need much explaining. He explains his role too – he will be watching the whole time with a brightly coloured horn, ready to intervene if the drunk actor puts themselves in danger of hurting themselves or “doing something illegal”.
With every entrance the audience waited with baited breath for a stumble or a slur of the words, but even the sober scenes were entertaining in their own right, with the actors showing off quick wit and solid senses of humour. Then on stumbled Juliet, played by Lucy Farrarr, a small blonde actress, who was a charmingly ditsy drunk. The 70-minute performance had the audience roaring with laughter, as Juliet met her Romeo with a pint in hand and veered back saying ‘you’re a bit forward’ when he tried to kiss her.
The Compere was true to his word, visibly carefully watching in the wings and rushing on to pull her away from the edge of the stage or to stop her from going off on too much of a tangent (“Less singing, more Shakespeare!”) and it was endearing to see an element of affection between the cast members, who, while laughing away themselves at slips of the tongue and her “fallen prostate”, tried to steer her in the right direction, carrying on the performance while accommodating for Juliet’s faux-pas.
Romeo (Richard Hughes) was delighted to see that Juliet was alive and kicking as he entered her family crypt, and the play ended with Juliette dancing joyfully around singing “I lived!”
This play is definitely not for those who want to experience a clean-cut performance of Shakespeare, or for those easily offended, but the audience (already quite drunk as well thanks to the numerous bars in the theatre) was roaring with laughter throughout.
Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare will be performing Romeo and Juliet at Leicester Square Theatreuntil the 1stSeptember.
They will also be performing Hamlet at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from the 1st– 27thAugust.
Get tickets on their website: www.shit-facedshakespeare.com