Music: Arthur Sullivan
Libretto: W. S. Gilbert
Adaptors: Issy Wroe Wright, Dora Rubinstein, Joey Bartram and the cast
Choreographer: Meg Matthews
Reviewer: Ruby Isla Cera Marle
Magnificent Bastard Productions have come up with an award winning and crowd-pleasing combination with their shit-faced formula. Take one well known play, in this case The Pirates of Penzance, add one particularly drunken sailor, in this case Connor Going who prior to playing Frederic the swashbuckling pirate slave was obliged more than a few fair rums (on this case his tipple of choice was beer) and then he continued to wet his alcoholic whistle through out the performance. As you can imagine with songs and full blown dance routines, quick changes and rather whimsical plot hilarity soon ensues.
Every person holds their drink differently, and I’ve no doubt had the drunken Russian roulette landed on another member of the cast we have witnessed a completely different form of merriment. As Frederic Going exudes an impish playfulness, as he skips and prances round the stage, pushes his luck seeing if he can steal a few cheeky extra kisses from Dora Rubinstein who plays the dainty songbird Mabel. Not dissimilar to an inebriated individual trying to convince that a police officer that they aren’t over the limit, Going hurtles through his lines at lightening speed. Which although is impressive, does make some of his key dialogue hard to follow.
The quick changes, and Tom Reade’s melodic tinkering of the ivories is it apparent that Shit-faced Showtime: Pirates of Penzance is a slick well oiled machine. No matter how tipsy any of this stellar cast may be, they never veer too far from the narrative. Our drunkard in question definitely hams up his drunken state, playing to a crowd who paid to see an intoxicated chap stagger through an operatic classic.
That said, when Going accidentally stumbles over a cable tripping their sound system, he looks genuinely worried, that he may have ruined the entire show. Equipped to deal with all eventualities and esteemed pros at improvising at the motley cast take the buzzing and the intermittent sound interference in their stride.
The camaraderie present between the players is tangible. More so than Going, the rest of the cast have tricker job of keeping a straight face despite the drunken tomfoolery, Reade as the Modern Major General, takes charge and steers the sometimes wayward ship back onto its narrative course with real buoyancy.
Shit-faced Showtime: Pirates of Penzance is another well honed and exquisitely executed show to add to Magnificent Bastard Productions shit-faced cannon. Watching a drunk person attempting to stagger their way through a play was always going to be amusing. They must have to tolerate fair few hangovers, but suppose it all part of the package when being shit-faced is your USP. These drunken sailors, pirates and maidens know exactly what they are doing, as they are quite simply masters of their craft.