Shit-faced Shakespeare (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Shit-faced Shakespeare

credit: © Magnificent Bastard

Enjoyable contrast between robustly delivered performance and cackhandedly mangled drama

Of all the comedy twists the works of the Bard have been given over the years, this inspired one is a potentially perfect fit for a late night at the Fringe. The idea is simple: a Shakespeare play is staged in an entirely serious manner by the cast, with the exception of one actor who is totally plastered. There’s potential for a raucous night’s entertainment that’s in keeping with the bawdier aspects of Elizabethan drama, but there’s also the risk that things could go wrong in a way that’s not especially conducive to a good night out.

This year, the cast of drinking chums perform the mid-period Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, and on this particular night (the actors take turns getting sloshed for the show) our pissed performer is playing Benedick, the witty would-be lover of Beatrice who has elsewhere been played by such notable thesps as Sir Henry Irving, Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant.

The performance strikes a good balance and enjoyable contrast between robustly delivered and cackhandedly mangled drama. It’s a one-joke show but, one suspects, even Shakespeare purists will get a kick out it.

C, 0845 260 1234, until 26 Aug, 11.20pm, £9.50–£11.50 (£7.50–£9.50).

Shit-Faced Shakespeare

  • 3 stars

Shakespeare performed as he would have wanted (perhaps). The play is entirely serious in every respect except that one of the actors is completely shit-faced.