What’s that, did you say? Classically trained actors on stage performing one of the most famous plays ever written? One of them being two beers and 2/3 of a bottle of tequila down? Count me in.


‘Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Hamlet’ lived up to its name, providing the audience with one drunkard, one rendition of ‘Hamlet’, and thankfully, at least to the front row, no vomit. The Bard would have been thoroughly pleased with this entertaining, rebellious adaptation of his tragedy that could be considered the new Horrible Histories for over-18s. 


The audience enters into the theatre unaware of which cast member has been chosen to go bottoms-up onto the stage. Yet, it is made very obvious who has faced the bottles as soon as the characters enter, evident from the sweaty face, red eyes and general unbalance in their step. Thankfully, our compère for the evening was on hand, prepped a member of the audience with a bucket, and had a horn to stop any of their questionable behaviours. Alongside this, she offered away two instruments to members of the audience that could be played once each throughout the play, signalling the time for our intoxicated thespian to top-up their glass.


Our victim of the night was Hamlet, played by David Ellis, who still managed to slur his way through “To be or not to be…”, much to the audience’s amazement. Although he provided many laughs, the humour of the performance was mainly in the improvised reactions of the other sober cast members who handled the back-chat with ease.


Prepare yourselves for a night of audience participation, spontaneous script deviations and binge drinking. This is certainly not your classical Shakespearian experience, but you won’t be going home without being thoroughly entertained.


It runs until 14 September


Review: Daniel Robinson

Photo: Rah Petherbridge Photography