Tag Archives: Leicester Square Theatre

A Pissemas Carol

A Pissedmas Carol

★★★★★

Leicester Square Theatre

A Pissemas Carol

A Pissedmas Carol

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 10th December 2021

★★★★★

 

“one of the funniest experiences you can have a theatre”

 

It’s written into law that, like Hamlet or The Importance of Being Earnest throughout the year, there must be at least 12 productions of A Christmas Carol running when the festive seasons rolls around. Without a doubt, A Pissedmas Carol tops the list.

Produced by Sh!tfaced Showtime (who also do Sh!tfaced Shakespeare), the show is a perfectly ordinary telling of the Charles Dickens classic save for one simple-but-genius twist: one of the cast of five gets stupendously drunk before the show and continues drinking throughout. It’s something that could easily go horribly wrong, but this team pulls it off with total brilliance.

In this performance, James Murfitt was the unfortunate actor who had to knock back some beers and most of a bottle of Tanqueray gin before the show even began, which was followed by more beers and even some Gaviscon during the play. In many ways, Murfitt seemed like the best choice from the audience’s perspective since they were playing Scrooge.

It’s only natural that the inebriated actor will want to go off-script, and the rest of the cast (Katy Baker, John Mitton, Issy Wroe Wright, Hal Hillman, Will Seaward, Daniel Quirke, Charlotte Brooke and Nick House in rotation across performances) do a stellar job of going along with it without derailing the plot too much. However, when that actor is playing the lead character who has a lot of control over the plot, it leads to a lot of derailing that ends up being exceptionally hilarious. In this version, Scrooge becomes a queer icon, drops the c-word like it’s going out of style, and completely rewrites the ending by murdering Bob Cratchitt. Seeing the gleam in the actors’ eyes as they magnificently mutilate the source material is superb, and they keep the audience in the palm of their hands throughout, in the most sidesplitting ways.

The audience get to be involved in the action too, with members bestowed with horns and crackers by the bellowing narrator that can keep the drinks flowing when used, and charades suggestions being played out on stage.

Thanks to Katy Baker’s slick direction and actors’ exquisite interplay and improv skills, A Pissedmas Carol is one of the funniest experiences you can have a theatre, and one of the best presents you can give yourself this Christmas.

 

Reviewed by Ethan Doyle

Photography by Rah Petherbridge

 


A Pissedmas Carol

Leicester Square Theatre until 15th January

 

Previously reviewed at this venue this year:
Sh!t-Faced Macbeth | ★★★★★ | July 2021

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Macbeth

★★★★★

Leicester Square Theatre

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Macbeth

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 8th July 2021

★★★★★

 

“an exceptional show from beginning to end”

 

The story of the Macbeths and their murderous grab for power in eleventh-century Scotland is one of Shakespeare’s most renowned plays. First performed in 1606, Macbeth (the play and its characters) command great respect on the theatrical stage…that is, until one of the cast members drinks multiple pints and half a bottle of gin just before curtain up.

That, essentially, is the premise of Shit-Faced Shakespeare. A staple at fringe festivals across the country, Shit-Faced Shakespeare has entered its fifth year at the Leicester Square Theatre, bringing much needed revelry to a socially distanced audience. At each performance, one professionally trained actor is chosen to get drunk before the show begins, and their sober co-stars must react accordingly to their sozzled antics. One audience member is even given a gong to hit if the show is too tame and another drink is required, whilst another receives a bucket in case of emergency.

The drunk for this evening was James Murfitt who played Prince Malcolm and one of the Three Witches. Stumbling and slurring, Murfitt injected pure chaos into the play, making comments about The Guardian reviewers in the audience (who, apparently, will love his penis flag), wanting to hook up with the Domino’s delivery boy, and insisting Malcolm is a black belt in judo.

Far from the bargain bin from which they joked they came, the cast were exceedingly good at improvising and bouncing off one another. Their recall to odd quips made by Murfitt was exceptional and served well to tie the whole play together amongst the havoc on stage. Will Seaward who played Duncan was particularly strong at this, and his booming voice reminiscent of Brian Blessed juxtaposed with Murfitt’s slurred speech perfectly.

Despite all the silliness, the show was highly polished. The sets, which Murfitt tried to climb on multiple occasions, were elaborate, the props were humorous (the knife Macbeth ‘sees before him’ attached to the end of a fishing line controlled by Murfitt), and the lighting and sound effects were well-timed and highly atmospheric. The costumes were suitably Shakespearean, and regular costume changes posed an extra (but hilarious) obstacle to the drunk.

A notably funny bit of prop comedy was the murder of Fleance, Banquo’s son, who is played by a puppet on wheels. A member of the audience was given a toy crossbow to shoot at Fleance as if playing some twisted carnival game. This was laugh-out-loud funny and was a brilliant example of just how creative the team behind the show are.

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Macbeth is an exceptional show from beginning to end. Fortunately for the audience, its premise means that one could watch the play over and over again without getting bored due to new hijinks and jokes afoot at each performance.

 

 

Reviewed by Flora Doble

 Production image by Andrew AB Photography

 

Leicester Sqaure Theatre

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Macbeth

Leicester Square Theatre until 11th September

 

Other shows reviewed by Flora this year:
Ginger Johnson & Pals | ★★★★ | Pleasance Theatre | June 2021
Godot is a Woman | ★★★½ | Pleasance Theatre | June 2021

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews