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Edinburgh Fringe 2016 Review: Shitfaced Shakespeare

The now-institution at the Fringe's Udderbelly returns for more easy laughs, writes Chris Owen

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Credit: Shitfaced Shakespeare
Credit: Shitfaced Shakespeare


It's all in the premise. Take a Shakespeare play, rehearse with a handful of classically trained Shakespearean actors, and then get one of them just the right amount of drunk before the show starts. As you'd expect, chaos ensues, and it's made all the funnier by the valiant attempts by the rest of the cast to keep the steadily sinking ship afloat.

Great, stupid fun that changes night-by-night, Shitfaced Shakespeare is capable of selling out one of the Fringe's largest venues and is fast becoming one of its staple show names. On this particular evening of the cast's telling of Measure for Measure, one of Shakespeare's oddities that is neither really a comedy nor tragedy but something of both, our Duke of Verona struggles with his mic-pack as he tries to navigate numerous costume changes. It slows the show down and leaves the audience hanging too often, proving that this show changes night-by-night in both quality and calibre.

That said, it's unadulterated mayhem and entirely worth a trip for its dozens of haplessly funny moments. Fabulous string versions of pop songs also bookend each scene, and the play is also occasionally coherent. It requires you to be a certain kind of Shakespeare fan to enjoy the night - if you take your theatre seriously it obviously won't be on your radar - but will satisfy anyone who likes watching things go a bit wrong.


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