Review of Shit-faced Shakespeare
William Shakespeare’s works have been performed widely across the world, but never before under the influence. The opening night of the 2013 Brighton Fringe saw Magnificent Bastards Productions’ unique interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a very drunken Demetrius.
Taking place in magical Athens, the play focuses on four young lovers, played by classically trained (and very patient) actors. If you’re looking for a traditional portrayal of the Bard’s tale, this isn’t it. But if you want to see actors forgetting their lines and staging rousing singalongs of Mr Boombastic and the Dawson’s Creek theme tune, this is worth a shot.
The sixteenth-century comedy was vastly altered as the sozzled actor tripped over his fellow cast members; received slaps for his dirty dancing; and came to sit in the stalls until it was his time to speak again. Of course the play is unlikely to run smoothly, but the best part of Shit-faced Shakespeare is in its audience participation. A kazoo and a gong are presented to audience members to play when the actors aren’t sufficiently sozzled. But don’t assume the actors will accept all drinking directions: one woman heckled Demetrius to down his drink, and instead found herself pulled up on stage, performing in his place so he could finish his pint at his own pace.
When watching Shit-faced Shakespeare, you’ll fear greatly for the actor’s safety, but this is all part of the fun. Luckily his sword was confiscated and replaced with a wooden spoon to ensure the comedy didn’t become a tragedy. Prior to the show the actor drank three french beers, two Crabbies bottles and a bottle of Chardonnay. With no intermission, get in the spirit by making sure to get a drink from The Warren‘s bar beforehand to prevent alcohol envy. But a warning: don’t sit in the first few rows, this is the designated ‘Vom Zone’.
Shitfaced Shakespeare will be on at 9pm Wednesday 8th Thursday 9th, and Friday 10th May at The Warren, Russell Place. Tickets range from £5 – £12.
WORDS by Rosie Murphy