For some reason there is something we all find funny about seeing a drunk person desperately trying to keep themselves together in public, so applying the idea to getting through a piece of Shakespeare only adds to the amusement. Magnificent Bastard Productions have devised an amusing concept for their work, resulting in huge success in Edinburgh and the USA, they have secured themselves a London run. This season the Shakespeare in question is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, performed as an hour long version by a cast of six; the four lovers, Puck and a compere who serves as a bridge between audience and cast, and ensures the drinker remains safe throughout.
The cast work extremely well together as an ensemble which, due to the nature of the performance, was crucial in order to keep the action running smoothly. On this occasion it was the turn of actor Lewis Ironside to stagger his way through the role of Lysander, having consumed a bottle of wine and several beers. He managed remarkably well, both in keeping a grasp of the plot and his place within it, and providing the audience with several hilarious faux pas to uphold the shambolic aim of the performance. I cannot say with complete certainty if Ironside was as drunk as the performance made him out to be, however the audience response to the classical carnage taking place before them was a clear indication of how accessible the ensemble made the performance. The element of audience participation certainly helped, and it was at this stage it became apparent how broad the age range of the crowd was; at a glance, one would estimate early 20s to 65.
This is not a production one would choose if one wanted an accurate and articulate performance, however if what you are seeking is something light, accessible and brimming with some colourful language, then S***faced Shakespeare is most certainly for you. Fun, frenetic and farcical, I expect this company will continue having its audiences in stitches for some time to come. As the Bard himself says. “Good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be used well.”
Tickets from £15.00
Tel: 020 7734 2222
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, London. WC2H 7BX
Booking until 11th June 2016
Review by Lucy-Jane Halcrow