Pros: Hilarious bad-but-brilliant Shakespeare with a fantastic concept.
Cons: The limelight-stealing actor in every performance risks the others looking flat.
Magnificent Bastard Productions bring back their Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare concept to the Leicester Square Theatre ready to kick off our (currently glorious) spring. And after a winter that, I swear, lasted about four years it is more than welcome. Escape the wild crowds of Leicester Square, leave the queue for the M&M Store, and head downstairs into the cool, wide auditorium where you’ll be guaranteed to see something no one has seen before.
The idea behind this show is so ridiculous it has no chance of not working out brilliantly. I’m jealous I didn’t think of it first, but I guarantee one day I’m going to give it a go. Take five trained actors, give them a bare-bones version of a Shakespeare play, a panto-esque set – all ok so far. But the gimmick is that one of the cast, before the performance, gets a shed-load of booze. I would say that, from there, you can guess what happens, but it is so much better than you might think.
You can tell from the sober performances that they’re all great comedic performers who are hilarious in themselves. The drunk actor (who on my visit was Louise Lee playing Jessica) can be guaranteed to get things brilliantly wrong, ad lib in the way only a drunk person can, and stumble their way through the night.
I would love to break down the ways Lee was a thunder-stealing goddess, but it would be like re-telling the events of a drunken night: funny, but you really had to be there. So go be there. And if you sit near the front you might be in for some performance-changing audience participation – make sure you ask for the bucket.
Don’t go expecting a faithful reproduction of an old fave, because (if Lee is anything to go by) you really won’t be able to take your eyes off of the poor inebriated soul on stage, forgetting that the rest of the story is actually happening. But do go expecting to laugh your head off, and to have an intense desire to have an equally wild night. And the best thing, you can keep going again and again knowing that you’ll see something different every time.
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Lewis Ironside
Producer: Stacey Norris for Magnificent Bastard Productions Ltd.
Booking Until: 2 June 2018
Box Office: 020 7734 2222
Booking Information: https://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873581166