Monday, 2 May 2016

Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare

 The last time I saw A Midsummer Night's Dream, I was a groundling at the Globe; it was wonderful, an experience about as close to the original Shakespeare as you can get. Except, perhaps, for the version currently showing at the Leicester Square Theatre where one member of the cast - along with a sizeable proportion of the audience - is totally hammered. (There are two bars and you can take your drinks to your seats, so you can catch up before the show).

 The night we went, it was Lysander's turn. Inevitably my companion and I were wondering if he was genuinely drunk - the programme assures us that he was - but actually it is genius either way. The play is cropped to the scene in the woods with the four lovers - two eloping, two in pursuit, one in love with the wrong person, you remember Shakespeare - and mischievous spirit Puck, who thinks that what this situation really needs is a magic potion that will make them fall in love with the first person they see upon waking . . . what could possibly go wrong? Oh yes - half a bottle of rum and three cans of Special Brew.

 This isn't highbrow, sophisticated or sensible, but it is boozy, bawdy and boisterous, a cross between serious Shakespeare, panto, and a student house party at 2am. The ad-libs are fabulous, be it from the intoxicated actor or his fellow thesps trying to keep the play going in a vaguely recognisable direction. Audience interaction is encouraged (although I'm glad I wasn't the one with the bucket!). On the evening we were there, Lysander decided that it would be much more fun if they ditched the score for the fight scene and got the audience to sing the Game of Thrones theme tune instead. He was right, it was. 

The play runs until 11th June so grab yourself a ticket, support the production, have fun and be prepared to laugh - a lot - but as the t-shirt says, Always Enjoy Shakespeare Responsibly.

 Yours, with the teensiest of crushes on Puck,

Girl About Town xx

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