Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Lewis Ironside
Reviewer: Heather Deacon
Never could Shakespeare play be described as a wild and raucous night…until now! Magnificent Bastard Productions bring Shitfaced Shakespeare, a uniquely chaotic night, to the Leicester Square Theatre until 2nd June, with one (rotating) drunk cast member a night and a classic – if drastically shortened – script; Merchant of Venice.
Saul Marron was our endearing host and carer for the evening, kicking off proceedings with a summary of the booze consumed so far by the mystery cast member. His ad-libbing and ba-dum-tish jokes set the audience, high from the sunny and booze-filled Thursday, up for an evening that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The play that followed was mostly lost in the ad-libbing, slurring and swaying of Louise Lee, attempting to portray Jessica. For those who don’t know the plot, they were never more than vaguely aware there was one as Lee tweaked the story, minimal direction and set to her liking, making the most of the opportunity to be centre of attention, like any good drunk would!
The most well known moments of the script thankfully weren’t lost, but there was a sense that the mess wasn’t as authentic as indicated, as Lee’s fellow performers barely attempted to keep it together, played up any potential running jokes immediately and failed to adhere to that old show business trope “the show must go on”. Every moment was played up to its fullest, though it was much funnier to witness the smaller drunken foolery, like Lee’s overacted reactions, poorly delivered lines and self congratulatory nods to the audience, rather than the farcical falls, chases and yelling.
This performance is for those in on the joke – the Shakespeare lovers and those beginning their evening out boozing – rather than the West End regulars. It’s a seventy-minute pantomime of an attempted performance in need of a tad more direction. The scenario is hilarious in its own right, after all.
Runs until June 2nd 2018 | Image: Rah Petherbridge