Magnificent Bastard Productions Present: Shit-faced Showtime – Review

Published On May 3, 2015 | By Kathleen Steeden | Brighton Fringe 2015

Otherplace at the Basement: Main Space
Fri 1st – Mon 4th May 9.30pm
£11 (£9.50)

From Magnificent Bastard Productions, the pissheads who brought us Shit-faced Shakespeare, comes Shit-faced Showtime – an ‘entirely serious musical revue with an entirely shit-faced actor!’

The company’s drunken take on Shakespeare has become a Fringe favourite over the last couple of years and fans will be pleased that the Showtime principle is essentially the same: the cast rigorously rehearse an original musical show and each night appoint a member of the cast to perform whilst utterly intoxicated. Tonight it’s the turn of Issy Wroe Wright, who, we’re told, has imbibed two cans of Stella Artois and half a bottle of rum before curtain call. Just in case the audience is in any doubt that this will be adequate to ensure antics, two members are placed in charge of musical instruments that they can sound at any point to ensure the swift administration of further alcohol.

The tone is established right from the start, with tell-tale giggles emanating from backstage as our narrator sets the scene for the show ahead. (A flimsy story about a family migrating from England to New York forms the backdrop to a handful of musical numbers cobbled together from the likes of Cabaret and Guys and Dolls.) When rosy-cheeked Issy appears on stage she’s hilariously disruptive right from the off, singing out of tune, forgetting her lines, repeatedly using the F word and interjecting her own brilliant observations, such as informing her co-star in total deadpan, ‘Your hair is really knotted.’

Her mischief is most brilliant when she manages to elicit reactions from her fellow cast members, who ad lib to great effect. One co-star, camping it up as an outrageously sassy NY hairstylist, manages to shoehorn some fantastic cues into his and Issy’s rendition of ‘Wash that man right out of my hair’ – ‘That’s my part but, whatever.’

The romantic leads play it perfectly saccharine in homage to real musical theatre, wide-eyed and smiling brightly throughout. It’s evil but I can’t help longing to see them in as big a state as Issy (something that’s a possibility for anyone attending any of the other Fringe performances as the cast take it in turns to get this inebriated).

The stoic narrator, keyboard player and drunk girl chaperone is in charge of preventing the show from unravelling entirely. His main battle is trying to keep Issy off the stage when she’s not supposed to be there, at one point fireman-lifting her into the wings. Is it all as spontaneous as we’re led to believe? I’m not sure. A few of the larks certainly feel a little like set pieces. There’s no denying, however, that the drunkenness is absolutely real.

There’s something very British and extremely satisfying about adulterating the squeaky clean smiles and jazz hands of Broadway musical by getting one of the performers so completely pissed they need a vom bucket on standby – a perfect celebration of musical theatre, classic show tunes… and liver damage.

Don’t forget to also check out Fringe favourite Shit-faced Shakespeare on until the 31st May at The Warren – boxoffice.brightonfringe.org/comedy/9355/shit-faced-shakespeare

www.magnificentbastard.co.uk
www.facebook.com/MagnificentBastardProductions
@shitfacedshake

About The Writer

is a Brighton-based writer, editor and bibliophile. She writes mainly about food culture, sustainability and travel (sometimes all at the same time) although her only real criterion for taking on work is that it must be interesting. She has recently decided to put all the time she spends daydreaming about food to good use, and as well as writing about the local dining scene for We Love Brighton she regularly compiles features for Sussex Food and Drink Guide and the British Curry Club’s Chaat! magazine. She is on a mission to drink beers in as many exotic places as possible. You can see further examples of her writing at www.kathleensteeden.co.uk