Even among our own at Everything Theatre, Sh!tfaced Showtime and Sh!tfaced Shakespeare is controversial (see one of our previous reviews here). I’d say you absolutely need to know what you’re in for to know whether you will actually enjoy it: a night with some skilled actors performing old favourites – A Christmas Carol tonight – but one of them is utterly… Well… Sh!tfaced. Unless you’re allergic to fun, surely, at the very least, it’s an amusing idea. Naysayers might think it’s a travesty to butcher some of the greatest stories ever told but, frankly, you don’t actually need to be drunk to do that, so why not have some fun while you’re at it? And if you’re the type that doesn’t giggle at a bit of a drunk stumble and you still booked a ticket for this show, have a look at your decision-making skills, please.
I will also mention, because it is a very valid concern, though, that there are obvious social and health issues that come along with drinking to excess and its promotion. (You can hear one of Sh!tfaced team speak a little about this here when he recently joined us on our podcast.) I’m reassured by the care they take of each other when drinking, and the whole thing is so light-hearted and silly I don’t think there’s any real promotion of harmful behaviour.
Our guide to the evening was Mr Dickens himself (I’m sorry I can’t credit any of the performers – there wasn’t a program or cast list in sight, plus a roling cast means it is not the same actors in each role each night!) who warmed us up with a couple of jokes, a bit of teasing of the audience, and explained how the whole thing works. Even the best drinking game must have rules, after all. He’s a credit to the format of the show, keeping things going whenever things needed a calming influence, and on hand if another drink is needed. A reassuring (but still very funny) bit of reality from the silliness to come.
A Pissedmas Carol has to be one of the most enjoyable things I’ve been to, and is the perfect antidote to whatever sh!tshow might be going on outside the theatre doors. Tonight was the turn of the main man himself, Ebenezer Scrooge, to have been drinking pre-show, and he was hilarious right from the first word. The rest of the cast – the sober ones – responded to him in ways that only helped the laughs, although, to his credit I suppose, the silliness that didn’t include Scrooge isn’t quite as funny. But the whole thing is superbly put together, from the singing which ranged from beautiful to ridiculous, to the wonderful set, featuring some subtle X-rated design. The whole thing is a bit panto-ish and utterly brilliant.
This is a really great way to spend an evening, just don’t take it too seriously. And by that, I mean don’t take the drinking too seriously either, shouts of “down it” got quickly told off by Mr Dickens, and some of the more boisterous audience shouting just felt a bit awkward. This isn’t my first time with Sh!tfaced Showtime, and it most definitely won’t be my last.
Written by Lewis Ironside, Issy Wroe Wright & James Murfitt
Directed by Katy Baker
Musical Direction by Charlotte Brooke
Produced by James Murfitt & Issy Wroe Wright
Original Production Concept by Dora Rubinstein & Issy Wroe Wright
A Pissedmas Carol plays at Leicester Square Theatre until 15 January. Check website for full details and start times, via the below link.