Shit-faced Shakespeare (3 stars)

Enjoyable contrast between robustly delivered performance and cackhandedly mangled drama


This article is from 2013.

Shit-faced Shakespeare

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

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.


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