Sh!t-faced Shakespeare

Sht faced shakespeare adelaide fringe 20241/2

Adelaide Fringe. The Roundhouse, Garden of Unearthly Delights. 21 Feb 2024


If you think this is just some guy lurching around off his face while the others get on with the serious work of presenting a play, you’re way off base. Sure, this is MacBeth, but not as we know it.


Right from the start it’s made clear what we’re up for. Matt introduces himself as our host and compere, but as it turns out, he’s more a wrangler come nanny, with the assistance of a few audience members.


Matt proffers the evidence before the show begins; a drinks tray bearing the detritus of a pre-show binge; beers, apple cider and the remains of a bottle of Tanqueray (no craft gin here!). And just in case there’s a sobering moment – more beer! There’s a bit of audience required here, and oddly enough it’s all too willingly offered, vom bucket and all.


Banquo is the hapless recipient of this evening’s liquor largesse, and from the opening scene he makes clear that this Banquo is not the character we’ve come to expect. Not his fault. Stabbing all the witches was a good hint, and the Ed Sheeran resemblance doesn’t help.


This is a mixture of adherence to the plot and improv, with probably more of the latter by other players than expected. There is, of course, a fart joke in the first minute, and it all goes wayward from there. Matt has to warn Banquo to stop stabbing people, or there’ll be no cast left, and it does come perilously close.


While not riffing off the jokes, the cast make a reasonable fist of the highly edited script, and shades of the ‘tragedy’ attempt to filter through. They’re rapidly trounced however, and when Sweet Caroline is summoned forth, it’s all over. By the time audience member Adam, who has been co-opted as an assassin, finally gets his man, the audience no longer cares who wrote the bloody thing, or what all that strutting and fretting is meant to signify, but is instead whooping and hollering for Macbeth’s demise.


This is an entertaining night, but in reality, no-one needed to be trashed; the cast was quite happy to trash the play itself without the added impetus of alcohol. Still, who doesn’t like a good gin, eh?


Arna Eyers-White


When: 21 Feb to 17 Mar

Where: The Roundhouse, Garden of Unearthly Delights