A six-strong team of actors and a compere grace the stage in this version of Much Ado About Nothing, which is like no other you have seen before.
Beatrice is drunk, or to be more specific, the actor playing her, Flora Sowerby, is. That’s what Shit Faced Shakespeare is all about: knocking ’em back and causing havoc.
In January, we caught classic Dickens in A Pissedmas Carol, from Sh!t Faced Showtime, and got an idea of the company’s ethos: cut a play down, get an actor absolutely blotto, dot sober colleagues around them, put it all in a stage and keep your fingers crossed.
There is plenty of ptofanity on show here, but the roars of laughter from a capacity crowd at last night’s press night probably matched the raucous behaviour you’d expect from an Elizabethan theatre pit.
Compere Beth-Louise Priestley does her best to keep Sowerby and the show on track, but disrobing, pratfalls, and topical gags (the BBC presenter saga) come dangerously close to derailing proceedings, if such a thing is possible.
Even with a Beatrice the wrong side of sozzled, Much Ado does proceed with some integrity, with Matthew Seager’s Claudio and John Mitton’s Benedick coming across as the most sober.
It’s not what you go for, though, so if a bearded man from the audience in a frock isn’t your idea of Margaret, and talk of chlamydia and c*nts isn’t your thing, this may not be the show for you.
Stacey Norris is tonight’s Leonata as well as director for every show (with rotating cast). It’s a tricky job to make something work as both Bard-lite and madcap, drunken comedy.
For a night of laughter strictly for the over-18s, give this a go if you’re open-minded about your classics. Completing the cast last night were Holly Durkin’s wide-eyed Hero and Chris Lane’s gleefully evil Don John.
Raise your glasses and stagger across to Leicester Square Theatre until 9 Sep to see Sh!t Faced Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing: tickets here.
Image credit: AB Photography