Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet @ Pleasance EICC

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare return to the Edinburgh Fringe with another chaotic and comedic take on the Bard

Review by Kitty McQueen | 16 Aug 2023
  • Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare

O Romeo, Romeo, what-fore hast thou drunk, Romeo? Whether you’re a fan of Shakespeare, a lover of comedy, or just enjoy a good drink, this show is perfect for all.

The premise is simple: five actors must perform a Shakespeare play – this year, it is Romeo and Juliet. However, one of the cast members has been drinking for five hours prior to curtains. It’s up to the rest of the cast to make sure they all reach the end of the play, through drunken stumbling, steaming conversations, and hysterically intoxicated, unscripted behaviour. If this weren't already enough to create a chaotic and funny Shakespeare adaptation, various members of the audience are lucky enough to be given a sound effect prop. They are gifted the opportunity to activate this noise at any point within the show, and if they do so, then the stumbling poet of love must tan another pint. 

Watching Romeo stumble across the stage as he refers to the audience as his wingmen was the only thing that could have improved such a beautifully romantic piece of literature. Due to the premise of the show, and the fact a different actor is drunk each time, the show is different every night. The actors must improvise their way through these mishaps and misleads, while trying to maintain a continuous logic to the show they’re putting on.

While there is undeniably skill, both in the improvisations of the sober actors and the drunken recitation of Shakespearean monologues, this is above all an hour of pure enjoyment. For this Shakespeare fan, it is enjoyable in that aspect but also manages to remain chaotic and so much fun. Go once, go twice, go as many times as you can, but do not miss this!

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Pleasance @ EICC (Pentland Theatre), until 26 Aug (not 21 Aug), 10pm and 27 Aug, 8pm, £15.50-17