Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★
This was one of the wildest, most unpredictable nights of theatre I’ve ever had. The same people who brought us Shit-Faced Shakespeare are now tackling musical theatre and the results are often hysterical. If you don’t have any ethical qualms with the premise, this will likely be a night to remember.
The Shit-Faced gang puts improvisational theatre to the limit by purposefully having a random member of their four-person cast drink all afternoon and be completely drunk during the show. It’s as crazy as it sounds. They show you exactly how much they’ve drunk (three pints of cider and half a bottle of vodka in our case) and they give the audience instruments to sound once during the show to give the performer another drink in case they begin to sober up. So there’s audience participation, or rather sadism, built in.
I have to admit I hadn’t literally cried with laughter in a theatre for ages. The tipsy performer was visibly inebriated from the moment she walked on stage. Mary was so drunk she couldn’t even sing clearly, much less remember most of her lines and the choreography. It was riotous seeing her basically wreck the show with her sudden outbursts, missed lines and uncoordinated dancing. There was even hilarity when she was off stage, with her yelling at the performers who were in the middle of a scene. She was unpredictable and it gave everything that much more of an edge. When the audience played their instruments and provided her with even more booze, the stakes were definitely raised. One of the highlights was her randomly changing the style of Kander and Ebb’s ‘Don’t Tell Mamma’ to hip hop.
There might be an ethical concern here since it does feel a bit cruel to be having such fun at a drunk person’s expense, but it is consensual after all. I can only imagine how much insurance the company has to pay since Mary was spilling her drink all over the place and very nearly tripped on her multiple journeys off stage to chat to the audience. I’ve spoken of improv theatre without a net, but this is danger on a whole other level.
Magnificent Bastard Productions Ltd