You know when you’re on a night out and your pal gets a bit too drunk and at first it’s all good fun, they’re saying hilariously unpredictable things, they stumble around and you have to help them up and they tell you how much they love you for helping them up, and it’s just such a wonderful time, right? But then they stop being funny, they start becoming repetitive and annoying, and every time they stumble over, you start to feel tempted to just leave them there (please don’t leave your friends at the side of the road). Now, mix that tediousness with that of a mediocre performance of a Shakespeare play and you’ve got Magnificent Bastards Productions’ Shit-faced Shakespeare: Macbeth.
A premise that should carry itself for its whole hour duration and be a comedy riot, a group of Shakespearian-trained actors performing scenes from the Scottish play, with the actor playing the titular role being intoxicated while being in the driver’s seat for the whole plot. The actors have to adapt the story to what the drunk says or claims the character has done in the moment. Sounds pretty funny right? And it is! For twenty minutes.
After that, the chaos becomes uncomfortable and at times unbearable, especially when the drunk actor’s ramblings and jokes don’t land with the audience and the sobering reality (get it?) hits us that maybe this actor doesn’t want to be on stage right now.
Props have to be given to the company of Shit-faced Shakespeare for their ability to adapt their lines to fit the nonsensical adaptation that the shit-face-ee has drawn up in their intoxication. These moments of actual comedic skill are definitely the funniest and the only thing that separates this company from a group of people thrown in a room with a bundle of scripts and a bottle of tequila.
The audience participation within the piece is merely just meaningless filler (that isn’t even needed given the piece was not nearly finished by the end) involving an audience member, a latex Batman mask, and a doll on a remote control car. The entire segment is only funny because of it’s sheer stupidity. There is no intelligence behind it.
Not only this, but there is no intelligence behind any of the piece, and if that’s how you like your comedy, by all means, I would never take it away from anyone. And my opinion on this is not going to change the fact that Shit-faced Shakespeare: Macbeth is a hit, attracting packed audiences every night. I just think I’d have enjoyed it if I was drinking as well, instead of just feeling like the designated driver on a night out.
Main Image Credit: Rah Petherbridge Photography