Review: 1* Shit-faced Showtime @ldnwonderground @shitfacedshow

#Tweeting it -1*”one musical, one drunks, sadly just one joke

The premise behind shitfaced showtime is simple.   C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_2022Take a serious production of a musical – in this case Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance – and get one member of the cast seriously hammered before the show starts.

Then sit back and watch the hilarity unravel as the drunken idiot tries to do what they’re supposed, does a lot of what they shouldn’t and generally causes mayhem.  Sounds funny, right?  Sadly it fell quite flat.

The show started with our compere explaining how much the drunk cast member had imbibed before the show (2 gin & tonics, 1 strawberry pimm’s, 1 gin & elderflower, around 400ml of Jim Beam) and encouraging the audience to get said actor even more drunk by handing out props which, when sounded, would pause the play for one more drink.  Much innuendo ensued and this was, sadly, the high point of the show.

The cast came to the stage with their opening number with one apparently “shitfaced” member of the crew messing around, forgetting her lines, playing with the props, pulling silly faces etc.  The problem was, it looked entirely controlled, deliberate and scripted.  Like the “drunk” 15 year old at a family party after they’ve been allowed a pint of shandy and feel the need to show off.  It felt entirely fake.

Whenever our drunk actor, Ruth, meandered off the path of what she ought to have been doing she was reined in by her fellow cast members in a way that seemed entirely rehearsed.  There was poise and control in her movements, in a way I’ve never seen from anyone when hammered (and I’ve seen plenty of hammered people) and her asides and ramblings were enunciated perfectly, unlike the lines from the play which were slurred.  In short we just didn’t buy it.

7n-XIQ1FThat said I think we were in a small minority as much of the audience (aside from the woman heckled by Ruth for being on whatsapp because “we’re boring” – I quite agree) were screaming with laughter.  My suspicion is these are the people who find You’ve Been Framed utterly hilarious, or describe themselves as “wacky” or “weird” in their Tinder profile, but ultimately aren’t very interesting.  Slapstick humour, like this, works for the under 10s, or for those who think of Dan Brown or EL James as challenging and interesting authors.

I was reminded a lot of Dinner for One, where one joke is repeated over and over whilst one cast member gets drunker and drunker.  The Germans love this and it’s shown every New Year on national television before the carnage of fireworks in the streets at midnight.  I suspect that if Shitfaced Showtime were to do a tour in Germany they’d find their target audience.

Shitfaced Showtime moves to the Edinburgh Fringe from 3rd August.

More information  available@shitfacedshow

London Wonderground tickets available at


Published by Playhouse Pickings

Theatre blog run by Rhiannon; a civil servant, D&D player, sci fi fan, immersive theatre lover and gin enthusiast

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