Tag Archives: Magnificent Bastard Productions

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Hamlet
★★★

Leicester Square Theatre

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Hamlet

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Hamlet

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 21st June 2019

★★★

 

“Whilst it didn’t have my sides splitting, it’s still a fun way to spend an evening”

 

The idea is this: you take five classically trained actors, spend weeks and weeks rehearsing a Shakespeare play, then, come showtime, for every performance one cast member gets ten out of ten drunk- or at least a solid seven and a half- and hilarity ensues.

Our drunk for the evening is David Ellis, playing Hamlet, and I can confirm he was definitely drunk – a point of contention in previous reviews. The script often seems to get in the way of his good time and he gets in to a rhythm of reciting his very wordy monologues double-time so he can get to the fun bit: licking his co-actors and throwing stuff at the audience.

The compere, Beth-Louise Priestley, spends much of the show ushering Ellis on and off stage, ensuring he’s polite to the rest of the cast and doesn’t throw anything too heavy at the audience (he does accidentally lob a book but I’ve been assured no audience members were hurt during this production). She is clearly genuinely enthused but I suppose owing to the fact that Sh!t-Faced has been running as long as it has, some of her lines feel a little over-rehearsed and sometimes she struggles to inject the necessary spontaneity in to her delivery.

Magnificent Bastard Productions has been running Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare now for a good few years. I imagine they kept coming up against the fact that the success or failure of the night is very much dependent on whether the drunk is a funny drunk. Otherwise you’ve got an inexplicably abridged Shakespeare play with one person who can’t remember their lines and just wants to take a nap. Not super fun. So, their solution is to make the whole script a bit silly; give the sober actors a chance to crack a joke or two. Unfortunately, this means there’s much less room for genuine improv and you can’t tell if the drunkard is cracking their own joke or reciting the script. You would think that the point of it being Shakespeare is that it’s traditionally very serious and stuffy, and adding a drunk person gives a good dose of giddy unpredictability. But if the script is already farcical, it comes off a bit like a touring school production – a way for the kids to get excited about an old play.

It feels a little formulaic but I suppose that’s to be expected when what started as a raucous fringe production moves to a West End theatre. That said, the cast still seem to be having a great time and they are obviously genuinely fond of each other which makes all the difference with improv.

Whilst it didn’t have my sides splitting, it’s still a fun way to spend an evening. Make sure you’ve got a drink in hand, this is not ideal for a sober night out.

 

Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Rah Petherbridge

 


Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Hamlet

Leicester Square Theatre until 14th September

 

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

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: The Taming Of The Shrew
★★★★★

Leicester Square Theatre

The Taming Of The Shrew

Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: The Taming Of The Shrew

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 25th April 2019

★★★★★

 

“Anything can happen in this exuberant show”

 

Sh*t-faced Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew is a merry romp indeed. Every night one of the actors gets joyfully inebriated, and makes their way through the play as best they can, ably assisted by their fellow cast members and the audience. It’s delightful, bawdy, boozy and hilarious. A seventy minute adapted script is the basis of the show, but it’s more a framework that anything else. The sober actors try to keep things more or less on track, while going with the flow and having a lot of fun.

Tonight is was the turn of Petruchio to get sloshed. His drunkenness made the character endearing and charming, particularly when he announced that he’d love to marry Kate, but only on equal terms, and called out the play for being really sexist. This was a while after their wedding. Perhaps this is the best way to deal with this problematic play; just let everyone have fun with it. Bianca in particular had a lot more fun than usual – some of it very naughty indeed!

The cast were quick and amazingly adaptable, picking up on ways to play with and get the most fun out of the chaos produced by Petruchio not exactly sticking to the script. In fact, when he is deemed to have managed rather a lot of Shakespeare, he has to drink some more. There is cross dressing, a very large cod-piece, audience participation, a bare buttock or two, a slightly embarrassed horse and a party-like atmosphere to the whole thing.

You never know what will happen when Magnificent Bastard Productions stage a Sh*t-faced show. It’s different every night, a mixture of Shakespeare, clever improvisation and ridiculous shenanigans. It was entirely possible that Petruchio may have decided not to get married. He may even have run off with a different cast member. Anything can happen in this exuberant show.

 

Reviewed by Katre

Photography by Rah Petherbridge

 


Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: The Taming Of The Shrew

Leicester Square Theatre until 1st June

 

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: 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

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com