Reviewer: Clare Howdon
Magnificent Bastard Productions return to the Fringe yet again this year with another take on their sell-out, award-winning formula Shit-Faced Shakespeare, with this year’s victim being the Bard’s tragedy Hamlet.
For those not au fait with Shit-Faced Shakespeare, the premise of each show is simple; a group of classically trained actors perform an abridged Shakespeare play with a different cast member being chosen each night to get absolutely hammered before the performance. The result is, of course, a boozy and chaotic evening with some Shakespearean verse thrown in for good measure.
Our engaging host for the evening, kicked off proceedings with a summary of the booze consumed so far by the mystery cast member. The play that followed was vaguely tied to Hamlet, but the premise was mostly lost in the ad-libbing, slurring and swaying of drunken cast member Queen Gertrude. However, for anyone who has witnessed Shit-Faced Shakespeare previously, an accurate portrayal of Shakespeare’s isn’t really the point of the evening and what was lost in historical and literary precision was certainly made up for in good old-fashioned slapstick hilarity.
The most well-known moments of the script thankfully weren’t lost, but there was sometimes a sense that the mess wasn’t as authentic as indicated. Every moment was played up to its fullest, though it was much funnier to witness the smaller drunken foolery, like Gertrude’s overacted reactions, poorly delivered lines and self-congratulatory nods to the audience, rather than the farcical falls, chases and yelling of the supporting cast.
As with anything of this nature, Shit-Faced Shakespeare is one of those things you will either love or hate and there is always going to be a fine line between hilarity and total chaos when the whole premise of your show revolves around one of the cast being blind drunk. From personal experience, it is certainly funnier if you are on a drunken par with the intoxicated cast member. It may not be one of the most high-brow offerings of this year’s Fringe, but it is undoubtedly a fiercely energetic and entertaining evening of theatre.
Runs until 27 August 2018 | Image: Contributed