Ever wanted to see a production of Oliver Twist with an out-of-it Oliver? A drunk Dodger? Fuddled Fagin? Or perhaps even a boozed up Bill Sykes? The inebriated minds behind Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare return to the West End with a brand new musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver – with a twist! The concept of the show is simple; 6 classically trained actors, 1 production of Oliver & 1 genuinely sh!t-faced cast member…..consider yourself thoroughly entertained!
Director and writer, Katy Baker is the cockney hostess with the mostest, acting as a Victorian ringmaster and ensuring no one and nothing is damaged in this rather unpredictable process. This time it’s cast member Beth Rowe that has spent the last four hours slowly getting drunk, and it’s hard to take your eyes off her hilariously loud and mischievous Oliver. The improvisational skills of the remaining sober actors (Alan McHale, Nick Moore, Hal Hillman & Issy Wroe Wright), most of whom multi-role, are top-notch, as they adapt quickly to the discourse and mayhem that Rowe creates. In keeping with the traditions of Victorian theatre, interactive elements are also included, with selected members of the audience responsible for playing various musical instruments should they feel Rowe is in danger of sobering up.
In a slight departure from the original, musical director Nick Moore incorporates other West End hits, including songs from Annie, The King & I, Les Misérables and many more; introducing another generation to the magical world of musical theatre. Similarly, certain plot points of Oliver are altered to offer a different and more modern interpretation. Theatre today is thought of as ‘high culture,’ a stark contrast to Victorian England where theatre was created for the masses. The very notion of Sh!t-faced Showtime seems to be a valiant attempt to reclaim theatre’s origins of ‘popular culture;’ recreating an atmosphere of community and a space where people can drink, laugh and be completely welcomed.
Despite claiming that ‘everything is 100% real,’ certain drunken moments appear rehearsed/choreographed, which is understandably a sensible precaution. Sh!t-faced shows have been in production for nearly a decade and they are experts at creating organised chaos. One thing that’s for sure is that both the actors and audience thoroughly enjoy every single minute of it. With a different cast member nominated every performance, each night promises something different. It’s the perfect p*ssed-up night out!