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Show Review: Shit-faced Shakespeare at the Brighton Fringe Festival

Sunday 12 May 2013

Every so often in life, someone comes up with an idea so brilliant, so outstandingly genius, that you just curse the fact you didn't come up with it yourself. This was my reaction when I heard the concept for Shit Faced Shakespeare.

A small group of actors perform a segment of one of Shakespeare's finest plays. The catch? One of them is completely, well, shit faced.

Brilliant, no?

For a long time before and during the start of the play, I had quite a few questions. Like, would they really be shit faced? Really? And if so, how shit faced would they be?

Actually, they were my only two questions.

When we entered the pop up theatre, The Warren (placed so close to the multi storey Churchill Square carpark that I thought we were being led to our deaths) we spotted the drunken star of the evening. Popping out from a stage door, clutching a supersize bottle of Barcardi Breezer, she swayed, checking out the huge line.

As we entered the theatre, a gawdy Russell Brand type played the Master of Ceremonies. In a top hat and tails, he had one of those overly theatrical, silly personas which I instantly like. I can't help it.

The show began, and it became clear that his main role was to follow the path of the drunken performer, ensuring they don't fall of the stage, throw up on themselves or cause havoc with a sword (there were swords).

A Midsummer Night's Dream began with a jaunty dance, which was somewhat of a challenge for our Hermia, who was stumbling and giggling. I wasn't convinced, at first. She's an actress, right? So she must just be acting drunk.

But as the play went on, I was persuaded. Whatever the case, it's pretty damn hilarious to see someone drunk, trying to reel off their lines, and remember to be asleep when the plot calls for it. She actually did a pretty good job of remembering her lines, which she spewed out incredibly speedily) At one point, she came out into the audience to find her friends (MC Russell Crowe lurking behind the curtain). She ended her accusatory lines with "You DICK" and asked for lines to be performed sitting down.

Really, it's the kind of thing that's hard to make sound funny on paper. Whenever you relay the drunken antics of another, you can never really capture the essence of it. So you'll have to just trust me.

Unfortunately, their run at the Brighton Fringe Festival has almost finished - there's one show left on May 26th. You can keep an eye on their site for upcoming performances elsewhere. 

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