Upon reading the Fringe guide one Saturday afternoon, I was grabbed by the title Shitfaced Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet. This just screamed hilarious and a good night out. However, as I later discovered, these are not just actors, acting drunk, but one actor is actually required to get “shitfaced”.
Now before your call the OH&S inspectors, the cast take this very seriously, rotating the nominated drinking actor to ensure each member is not required to drink more than 3 times over the course of a month and never on consecutive nights. There was also a person near the stage, at the ready, to look after them and it didn’t take long to understand why.
Our show, Juliet was the nominated drunkard and had spent the previous 2 hours getting highly inebriated on two bottles of Prosecco with hilarious results. Two audience members were also given instruments in which they could sound once at any point during the performance, the play was then stopped and Juliet was given yet another drink.
So it goes without saying, she was out of control, running amok and disappearing off stage during her scenes, interrupting other actors in the middle of their lines, laying on the stage when she should be standing and standing when she was meant to be laying. She used the actors real names instead of their character’s name and often changed dialogue or swaying from the story so extremely that the actors had to eventually bribe her with another drink to get the story back on track. She did manage to hold it together for the all important death scene, but I wasn’t sure if our actress had simply passed out. But alas, no she sprouted to life once more. Ridiculous and chaotic, she had some audience members in complete hysterics.
It looked like the actors were having a great time and I wondered how much fun this would be to do, but I figured there would be no point asking her because she probably wouldn’t remember.
I hand it to the other cast members, who by the way, are all professionally trained Shakespearean actors, as they managed to hold it together, staying in character and improvising where needed with hilarious consequences. This group of very talented actors obviously love what they do and have lots of fun doing it.
Unfortunately the venue was located near another event in Gluttony and the sound of loud music coming from the outside the marquee made it really hard to hear the actor’s dialogue and detracted from my overall experience of the show. However I did enjoy it and would recommend it to those looking for a bit of light entertainment.
Fringe Review by Mandy Keulen