Tag Archives: Robbie Capaldi

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare® Much Ado About Nothing.

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing


Leicester Square Theatre



 Sh!t-faced Shakespeare® Much Ado About Nothing.

“It is utterly chaotic, but that’s the glory of it”


A staple of the Edinburgh fringe, the premise of Sh!t-faced Shakespeare is simple: it’s a traditional Shakespeare performance (with liberties taken for comic purposes, of course) where one performer is, for want of a better word, sh*t-faced. That performer rotates every night, as do the cast, and the roles. No two performances will ever be the same…

Don’t go to this if you’re expecting a genuine production of Much Ado, it’s more like a crazed improvised performance, with chunks of Shakespeare loosely hanging it together.

Luckily, the sober performers are also packing in the gags and the quick improv. There is a risk with the concept that when the drunk performer isn’t on stage, the audience is left merely watching a Shakespeare play, and maybe not a great performance of it. However, this is not the case with this troupe – a running bit about Benedick having chlamydia, quick one-liners about choir boys and priests, dragging an audience member into the fray – this cast (and director Stacey Norris) know what they’re doing and do it well.

It is utterly chaotic, but that’s the glory of it. When things go wrong (and they do, often) it is part of the fun. Mics cut out, parts of the set (designed by Nicola Jones) are thrown from the stage, costumes fall apart, it all makes it more ridiculous, and more joyous.

A crucial role is played by the compare, for us it was Beth-Louise Priestley, who is on hand to keep the show ticking over, much to the horror of the drunk performer (Flora Sowerby) who seems mostly to want to monologue about the beauty of beards. Priestley runs around, mopping up spills, gathering Sowerby back from the audience, where she’s escaped, and blowing an air horn when things get too messy. There are times when this isn’t enough, and the chaos takes over, people talking over one another and all aiming to grab the spotlight. Most of the time though, it works well. Very well.

Sowerby shines as a drunk Beatrice, but the rest of the cast are also very strong. Holly Durkin and Matthew Seager make a very sweet Hero and Claudio, and Chris Lane is a deliciously evil Don John. John Mitton is a particularly quick Benedick, who manages to keep character, even while delivering witty one-liners. Stacey Norris delights as Leonata, bringing a real joy and feminist flavour to a usually boring part.

7pm is quite early for this sort of show, it feels like it could’ve been in a later slot, but no one seems to mind and the roars from the audience demonstrate that even on a Wednesday at 7pm, people are very up for this.


Reviewed on 12th July 2023

by Auriol Reddaway

Photography by AB Photography


Leicester Sqaure Theatre


Previously reviewed at this venue:


Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet | ★★★★ | July 2022
A Pissedmas Carol | ★★★★★ | December 2021
Sh!t-Faced Macbeth | ★★★★★ | July 2021


Click here to read all our latest reviews


The Crumple Zone

King’s Head Theatre

The Crumple Zone

The Crumple Zone

King’s Head Theatre

Reviewed – 29th November 2018


“remains an entertaining, if slightly dated, queer Christmas show”


The titular crumple zone refers to the part of a car designed to crumple up on impact to protect the people inside. It’s a fitting metaphor for the poor characters in this show who end up bearing the brunt of other peoples’ romantic decisions and works as well for the show itself. Although far from being a car crash, ‘The Crumple Zone’ tiptoes around a compelling and dramatic story, leaving the audience aware of an emotional punch, and yet completely unaffected by it.

Buddy Thomas’ script introduces us to Alex (Nick Brittain), Buck (Robbie Capaldi) and Terry (Lucas Livesey), all struggling actors working crappy jobs to get through the Christmas holidays. Alex is dating Buck, to the ignorance of the long-term girlfriend Sam (Natasha Edwards), and their relationship is put into question when Sam, to everyone’s surprise, returns home from tour on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, Terry picks up Roger (Fanos Xenofos), another adulterer, using him as a rebound after his repeat rejection from Buck.

It’s certainly comedy caper territory, especially with Livesey’s Terry, whose wisecracking cynicism really makes the show enjoyable. However, Livesey is not matched by his fellow actors, who fail to raise the stakes when it’s needed most. Robert McWhir places his actors effectively, but no one seems affected or changed by the drama surrounding them. This is partly the script’s fault. Not only are a lot of the jokes and cultural references dated (to a Millennial at least!), but we don’t know who to root for. Relationships are simply not set up in such a way to make us care for anyone. The biggest betrayal barely registers for Sam, so why should it register for us? ‘The Crumple Zone’ is only eighteen years old, but it’s representation of gay/bisexual men as either cheaters or callously promiscuous does not hold up well. Not that I advocate only positive representation, but we do hope to see more nuanced characters these days.

All in all, I can see why this play was an “off-Broadway hit” back in 2000. Warm, witty, and with an incredibly watchable performance from Livesey, ‘The Crumple Zone’ remains an entertaining, if slightly dated, queer Christmas show.


Reviewed by Joseph Prestwich

Photography by Joel M Photography


kings head theatre

The Crumple Zone

King’s Head Theatre until 9th December


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue
Riot Act | ★★★★★ | July 2018
The Cluedo Club Killings | ★★★ | July 2018
And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens | ★★★★ | August 2018
Hamilton (Lewis) | ★★★ | September 2018
Canoe | ★★★½ | October 2018
La Traviata | ★★★★ | October 2018
No Leaves on my Precious Self | ★★ | October 2018
Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Brexit | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Momma Golda | ★★★ | November 2018


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