Get a cast member drunk and then send them on stage with their fellow actors to sing, dance and keep a plot going – sounds like a recipe for disaster but the reality for the second hugely popular show from Magnificent Bastard Productions is an absolute recipe for hilarious success!
Of course, the production team must have been rubbing their hands together when they came up with the new show idea having already brought Shit-faced Shakespeare to the world eight years ago and proceeding to sell out runs at both Edinburgh and Brighton Fringes for years. Shit-faced Showtime, much like its predecessor, takes a hugely popular West End show and turns it, through the addition of copious amounts of alcohol, into a never before seen (and never to be seen again) production.
Oliver Twist is the musical to get the shit-faced treatment this year and the show is opened with some housekeeping. A xylophone and recorder are handed out to audience members with permission to bash and blow away on the instruments should they suspect that the actor chosen for tonight’s alcohol consumption is starting to sober up. The host of proceedings, who aims to keep order throughout, has a ‘horn of last resort’ should things start to get out of hand, and finally a bucket is given to an audience member in the “vom zone”…just in case.
And with that the show begins. Part of the fun for the audience is seeing how quickly they can spot the drunk cast member and at this performance it was obvious fairly quickly. From struggling to keep up with the dance moves to adlibbing lines and altering the script the Artful Dodger (Tom Tilley) was quite clearly tonight’s ‘victim’. And he was supremely funny. Much like when you arrive late to a night out and get to watch your friends act a bit daft, well that was exactly what we got. The fact that everyone else on stage is stone-cold sober and has to play along with whatever happens only adds to the hilarity of proceedings and it is worth noting too that the cast are talented, trained musical theatre actors.
Fall off your chair, stomach clenching laughter is what the audience are treated to and a story of Oliver Twist they will certainly have never heard before. This is a show you could return to night after night and enjoy which makes Shit-faced Showtime something quite special. Mad, but special.