Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet ★★★ Leicester Square Theatre | Jul 6 - Sep 10, 2022

But, soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is going to have a serious hangover! The play that goes wrong is a familiar and usually satisfying theatrical trope. Sh!t-faced Shakespeare has a variety of productions that use the same frame: one of the actors is encouraged to drink to excess and this is the excuse for all the mayhem. It is a premise that may seem a little questionable and even dated, but it still has a humorous appeal for many audiences. The idea of sending up what is sometimes seen as the pretentiousness of Shakespearean drama probably also has a certain attraction. What results is an evening with lots of broad humour, sexual innuendo and enthusiastic audience participation. The script very roughly follows the original play with some lines from the bard, some original jokes and some putative ad libs. The cast does a fine job of setting a breakneck pace for the action, with lots of throwaway lines and no time for reflecting on the fact that real drunkenness is seldom this clever or this amusing. This is a Romeo and Juliet that will repay you for all that swatting you did in secondary school – an opportunity to enjoy an evening of non-stop slapstick humour with the two 'tragic' teenagers.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Rah Petherbridge.

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