Tag Archives: Charlotte Brooke

Sh!t-Faced Showtime: A Pissedmas Carol


Leicester Square Theatre

A Pissedmas Carol

Sh!t-Faced Showtime: A Pissedmas Carol

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 28th November 2019



“bountiful instances of quick-witted, gleeful silliness”


Audiences are a voyeuristic bunch – from found-footage horror films to The Play That Goes Wrong, there is a proven appetite for watching things where what’s being shown feels like it shouldn’t be seen. So it’s no surprise that Magnificent Bastard Productions have struck gold with their format in which they get one of their actors drunk and have to roll with whatever punches they throw during the show. They’ve found success with both Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare and Sh*t-Faced Showtime previously, and that can now be counted as a triumvirate of triumphs with their new festive show, A Pissedmas Carol.

A Pissedmas Carol follows the plot of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol with a cast of five and a script by Lewis Ironside. Or it intends to follow the plot, anyway, although the actor who’d got through two beers, a shot of vegan Baileys, and two thirds of a bottle of Captain Morgans over the course of four hours preceding the show lobbed most of the script out the window. The rules set out by the show’s MC (who incidentally, was Charles Dickens – played with adorable joviality by Will Seaward) dictate that whatever that actor chooses to do, the others must improvise around it. With a group of exceptional improvisers such as this, such a format leads to boundless hilarity. Once this performance’s drunk actor Daniel Quirke chooses to lick a castmate’s nose as a greeting, it becomes a running gag throughout the show, and when Quirke changes the ending of the story on the fly by putting Scrooge in a coma for forty years, the change is embraced fully by the other actors. The fundamental rule of improv – always say yes – is taken very seriously, which results in bountiful instances of quick-witted, gleeful silliness.

The improv and alcohol-heavy nature of the show could very easily lead to wearisome indulgence in the performances, but thankfully there is a keen awareness from the cast, as well as clear measures to ensure the experience is always firmly centred around audience enjoyment – the MC will sometimes usher things along, or Charlotte Brooke’s piano accompaniment will lead the scenes forward. The audience are also invited to deepen the chaos, as select members are able to put another drink in the inebriated actor’s hand when they so wish. By the end of the show, Quirke had got through a further three beers, which kept the voyeuristic excitement ramping up.

As mentioned, the performances are roundly excellent, and the fun that these actors are clearly having on stage with each other permeates through to the audience. They capitalise on every unexpected comic opportunity, with James Murfitt as Scrooge and Katy Baker (who also directed) as the Ghost of Christmas Past standing out in a scene where – thanks to Quirke’s machinations – their rendition of ‘Walking in the Air’ as they flew to the past brought on reams of laughter. That’s not the only song either – A Pissedmas Carol features a host of Christmas classics, all fantastically sung, from Issy Wroe-Wright’s scene-stealing ‘Last Christmas’ to the gorgeous harmonies in ‘Fairytale of New York’.

A Pissedmas Carol has carved out a format that sets it apart from any other Christmas show, yet also puts it head and shoulders above them. Forget panto – this is the most fun you’re going to have in a theatre this festive season.


Reviewed by Ethan Doyle

Photography by Rah Petherbridge


Sh!t-Faced Showtime: A Pissedmas Carol

Leicester Square Theatre until 5th January


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Murder, She Didn’t Write | ★★★ | February 2018
Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice | ★★★★ | April 2018
Sh!t-faced Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet | ★★★★ | June 2018
Murder She Didn’t Write | ★★★★ | September 2018
Sh!t-faced Showtime: Oliver With a Twist! | ★★★ | September 2018
Stick Man | ★★★½ | October 2018
Sh!t-Faced Showtime: Oliver With A Twist | ★★ | March 2019
Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: The Taming Of The Shrew | ★★★★★ | April 2019
Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet | ★★★ | June 2019


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The Great Yorkshire Fringe – Launch Gala


“some clear standouts which promise a festival full of fun”


The Great Yorkshire Fringe runs from the 19th July – 29th July and boasts everything from comedy to dog shows. Tonight, at the Leicester Square Theatre we are treated to snapshots of some of the comics who will gracing the stages of York in the coming weeks.

YorkshireIan Smith

Ian Smith is the evening’s compere, consistently energised and doling out funny doses of audience interaction between acts. He also has a show at the Fringe, ‘Craft’ which looks set to be great fun if tonight is anything to go by. Between acts we are also treated to short films created by ‘Sh!tfaced Shakespeare’ in which drunken actors explain the plot of a Shakespeare play in two minutes, a taster of the fun their full productions have in store.

YorkshireRahul Kohli

There are some clear standout performances of the night. Rahul Kohli is a definite favourite, “a Geordie Indian man” by his definition. As he says, “I look like an ethnic but sound like a racist.” His humour is topical, vibrant and bitingly funny and he uses comedy to talk about racism in an accessible and witty way. Reginald D. Hunter is one of the festival’s headliners and it is obvious why. He’s American, for which he apologises, but he lives in England because at least English racists won’t shoot you, not before writing a bunch of letters anyway. Again, clever and topical, Hunter is warm, comfortable and personable onstage and his full show will definitely be a joy to watch. John Pendal’s act doesn’t pack quite the same impact but it is a charming and playful set that discusses queer relationships in an easily accessible way, and Pendal presents as deeply likeable. Dougie Walker’s comedy is narrative based or “art” depending on who you ask, clever and full of good impressions, I was left wanting to know more. Ben Pope (yes, that’s short for Benedict) also looks like one to watch out for. His humour is fast-paced and self-deprecating, and the combination is fantastic.

YorkshireHarry and Chris

Musical comedy makes up a substantial part of the evening. Harry and Chris describe themselves as a “comedy-rap-jazz duo” and it’s certainly an effective combination. Witty and playful, the pair are a clear talent. This is a slick performance laced with clever wordplay that leaves me wanting more, certainly one to look out for at the Fringe. Charlotte Brooke is another talented musical comedian, who wittily discusses her favourite food group, gluten, and her decision to substitute running with Netflix. Relatable, warm and playful, she has a lovely presence onstage, and is again, one to watch out for. Mitch Benn opens the show with his musical comedy act. It’s a clumsy start, but his song about the epidemic of Ed Sheeran goes some way to making up for it.

YorkshireAlice Fraser

Not every act shines tonight. The Thinking Drinkers’ show is a pub crawl through time, complete with a shot of Yorkshire gin for the audience. Their act is a mix of weak word play and technical tasting notes that doesn’t quite work in their ten minute slot. Perhaps across a longer slot their act will be showcased better and they are keen to remind us that you do get five drinks during their show! Paul Sinha is an openly gay Asian man, quizzer and comedian, and his comedy is well-observed and clever, although his delivery is not as sharp as some of the people he is sharing the stage with tonight. Craig Campbell and Alice Fraser are two acts who show clear potential and come armed with lovely energies and some strong material each but in their limited time slots both fail to stand out from the extensive line up of comics. Next up, comedy historian Robert Ross will be interviewing the legendary Tony Slattery during the Fringe, with the sole condition that Slattery is not at all prepared on what he will be asked. The result is initially a bit too rambling and directionless although a shirtless onstage fight finale is a strange but entertaining end to the set. Paul Foot’s set is equally bizarre, full of quirky musings that will make you rethink everything you think you know about what comedy is. As he says, “You’re laughing but you don’t know why.”

This is a varied night and there are some clear standouts which promise a festival full of fun that really has something for everyone.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown


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The Great Yorkshire Fringe


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