Following in the footsteps of their booze-fuelled trip to Venice with The Merchant of Venice earlier this year, the critically lauded (and occasionally lambasted) Magnificent Bastard Productions hot foot it to Verona as they make their return to the Leicester Square Theatre (20th June – 1st September). From sozzled star-crossed lovers to a tipsy Tybalt, Shit-faced Shakespeare give Romeo and Juliet their signature shit-faced twist as the cast attempt to navigate the bard’s fated love story with one drunk performer.
So how does it work? Each performance has a cast of six actors, who all arrive four hours before the start of the show for a ‘party’ – however, this party is dry for all but one performer, who gets Shit-faced. The rest is a balancing act between the (trimmed down to an hour) Shakespeare script and improv rules, which state you must go with whatever the drunk actor decides to do. “Yes, and…” rather than “No, but…”. Every single show is a one-off. Every single performance has a different drunk actor. Every single time they are genuinely inebriated.
Director and performer Stacey Norris says “The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is often held as one of the greatest love stories of all time. However, we can’t guarantee that our Shit-faced version is going to be either a tragedy or a love story. Star-crossed lovers, feuding families and a murderous Friar that stabs everybody with a dildo leaving him the only surviving character, who knows? The beauty is that we don’t know what is going to happen from show to show. Romeo and Juliet is one of my top Shit-faced shows, there is just so much to play with! For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her pissed up Romeo.”
Formed in 2010 by a group of East15 graduates (largely), Magnificent Bastard Productions were just friends who loved creating unexpected and unpredictable theatre at music festivals such as Secret Garden Party. Shit-faced now performs across the UK, Australia and USA in Boston, Atlanta and Austin. They sell-out at the Edinburgh and Brighton Fringes annually, and in 2015 expanded into Shit-faced Showtime, a pissed-up hour of harmonious Broadway showtunes.
This summer, Magnificent Bastard Productions tackle the Bard’s longest play and the most popular during his lifetime, to present their own raucous, rowdy and riotous rendition of Hamlet at The Great Yorkshire Fringe in York (25th – 28th July) and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at McEwan Hall (4th – 27th August).
Running Time: 70 minutes | Suitable for ages 16+
Directed by Stacey Norris
Written by William Shakespeare and adapted by Lewis Ironside
Romeo – Richard Hughes and James Ely
Juliet – Jessica Brindle, Lucy Farrar and Beth-Louise Priestly
Mercutio / Friar – Saul Marron and Simi Egbejumi-David
Capulet / Tybalt – John Mitton and Chris Lane
Nurse / Benvolia – Victoria Fitz-Gerald and Stacey Norris
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BX
20 June – 1 Sept 2018: Romeo and Juliet
Tues – Sat 7pm