Shit-faced Showtime continues at the Leicester Square Theatre for three more Sundays in July (9, 16 , 23)..
Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩
It was back in August 2015 when Musical Theatre Review last reviewed Shit-faced Showtime at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, branding the production as “one of the wildest, most unpredictable nights of theatre I’ve ever had”. Now a year on, despite a different theatre, reviewer and perspective, this statement remains.
From the creators of Shit-faced Shakespeare, the premise behind the show is relatively simple. Take five classically-trained musical theatre performers, nominate one (Alan McHale, who plays the Scarecrow) to get inebriated beyond comprehension and watch the take on a musical – in this case The Wizard of Oz – unfold into mayhem. In summary, it’s a theatrical drinking game.
The show begins with the compere (David Ellis) evidencing how much alcohol has already been consumed (nearly two bottles of Blossom Hill) and gives the audience instruments to use when they feel the chosen performer is in need of yet another drink.
A hybrid of pantomime and a primary school production gone horribly wrong, this all-singing, all-dancing, all-drinking show initially seems to be a great excuse for a cheap trip to Leicester Square. However, you might need to have a drink yourself to get through it.
Undoubtedly, the show does sport some hilarious moments, including the inebriated cast member showcasing that the time and money spent on training has certainly not gone to waste (?).
There is, however, only a certain amount of this humour one can take. The comedy is not witty, but instead purely relies on the stupidity displayed by the ‘shit-faced’ performer.
Memories of being designated driver amongst a group of intoxicated friends comes to mind. Initially a fun experience that begins to grate, leading to a pretty tiresome journey home.
What saves the whole show is that no two performances are ever the same. Each evening, a different cast member will be fuelled with alcohol, meaning the show could go in any direction, at any time.
Shit-faced Showtime is the true test of improvisational theatre and, despite its flaws, is fun to watch, and even more so to be a part of.
The rest of the cast includes Nick House as the Witch/Wizard, Issy Wroe Wright as Dorothy, Dora Rubinstein as Glinda/Lion and Tom Tilley as Tin Man, with direction from Tamsyn Kelly.