If you don’t know sh!t-faced Shakespeare, it’s about time you learn, as it is the best thing to happen to Shakespeare since good old William himself. The concept is simple: a group of classically trained actors perform a Shakespeare play, in this case Romeo and Juliet at Leicester Square Theatre, and each night one of them get drunk aka sh!t-faced. A few audience members get toys that can make a sound when they think the actor needs another drink. They then act out a slightly sped up version of the classic and the remaining actors have to work around the drunk one that will evidently ruin the play one way or another.
Everyone enjoys watching drunk people doing stupid stuff and taking something so serious and ‘overdone’ as Shakespeare only makes it more fun. It is a refreshing touch to something most people have studied and read to pieces and it is a simple way of guaranteeing laughter. Romeo and Juliet being the most famous of plays is mostly an advantage, as people know what to expect and will know exactly when something goes wrong. A bit of a shame that drunk Juliet ended up pretending to have narcolepsy instead of having taken the potion, so the infamous death scene was spared.
It’s difficult to focus on anything but when the wasted one will mess up again, but despite that the music really stands out. Modern music such as ‘Call Me Maybe’ is playing with violins so it has quite an old fashioned ball room feel to it. The set is minimalistic, but very fitting with traditional Shakespeare and so are the costumes.
Despite being classically trained, the play in itself is not completely traditional, although most of the language is. They have made it quite sexual and Juliet’s dad is incredibly flamboyant with homosexual tendencies. So even when drunk Juliet was not on stage, it was still very entertaining and seeing Lord Capulet drunk can only be as entertaining if not more. Some of the other actors forgot a few lines, even before Miss Wasted entered, but as no one has expectations of high level Shakespeare, it was not a problem as such. The remaining cast did a fantastic job at improvising in a hilarious way when Juliet tried to ruin everything.
If you have not seen sh!t-faced Shakespeare, don’t fret; now is your time and it’s on till 1st of September. It is honestly the most hilarious piece of theatre you will see in a long time and definitely the best new interpretation of Shakespeare around. There is no chance you will go in without laughing and it’s so liberating (respectfully) to see Shakespeare being taken a little less seriously.