A Christmas Carol reimagined for a modern audience, or so we hope. Unfortunately, our lead actor is heavily intoxicated, or so Shitfaced Showtime want us to believe in their enjoyable new satire of the Dickens classic.
I never quite know whether to give a brief overview of the show when reviewing a classic. And in the case of A Pissedmas Carol, this feels somewhat ridiculous, given that we barely make it to the end of the Dickens story, so I won’t. The real premise of the play is that the actor playing Scrooge has drunk himself blind backstage before the show, but the classically trained actors are attempting to blunder on with the help of Charles Dickens himself.
While the actor playing Scrooge does a good job early on playing a caricature of what drunk people are like, the drunk jokes wear thin quite quickly. Thankfully the team behind this have anticipated, and the show moves on quickly. From here it becomes a more traditional pantomime show, and the performers are very sharp, playing dexterously with the audience. Though the cast is unbalanced in its ability to execute jokes and play in the moment, they do a good job of setting each other up and calling back to earlier jokes.
The whole affair has a fun energy to it. Aside from being slightly bemused at how scandalous an onstage gay kiss still seems to an audience, there’s a great feel to the room. I couldn’t work out why there were a lot of very shoe-horned songs, but maybe that’s just adhering to pantomime tropes.
The cast, in particular Mr. Dickens and Scrooge give us a real sense that very little of it is scripted or rehearsed. The jokes, while well executed, are often cheap (inevitable phallic dickens jokes) and could be pushed much further to hilarious extremes. And while I don’t like singling people out one of the players was having a rough night.
I am probably being too cynical, and don’t really care for Christmas so as long as you willingly suspend your disbelief for a couple of hours, you will have a jolly Christmassy time.
Review by Tom Carter
Stumbling and slurring its way back to Leicester Square Theatre for a triumphantly tipsy fourth year, the boozed-up boffins at Sh!t-faced Showtime® cordially invite you to pull up a bar stool and witness Dickens’s classic tale of miserly old Scrooge visited by three spirits to learn the true meaning of Christmas. With the aid of performance enhancing (or more appropriately, debilitating) intoxication of course!
SH!T-FACED SHOWTIME: A PISSEDMAS CAROL
30 NOVEMBER 2023 – 6 JANUARY 2024