BWW Review: Shit-Faced Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW Butchers the Bard
Shit-faced Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW has come to Austin's Spider House Ballroom! The premise is simple: one cast member has several drinks before the show and, as a result, behaves poorly onstage. The other actors then have to cope with being heckled by a member of their own troupe. "The Drunk" can then be made to drink even more during the performance by audience members or the show's master of ceremonies. So it's Shakespeare - but sloppier.
This is a very casually staged production. The costumes fit the time period, but the set and props are minimalistic. (No performers or crew will be credited here - simply because there was no Playbill to list them.) Add in the general rowdiness of the crowd, and this is perhaps a more genuine way to experience Shakespeare as the commoners would have back in 1594. Consider arriving early to treat yourself to a drink or two at the bar. That's another tradition as old as live theatre.
As one of Shakespeare's comedies, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW can handle a bit of extra debauchery on the stage. But, at times, the energy put into making this show silly seems over-the-top and unnecessary. The original script is funny - if the right emphasis is given to the naughtier lines and the crowd is given time to process the jokes. This condensed, one-hour version that is dialed up to emphasize the ridiculous is undeniably funny - but lacking much of the elevated humor and heart of the original. In the end, however, crowds at Shit-faced Shakespeare are paying for someone to butcher the Bard's work. This show achieves that goal and keeps audiences entertained as it does.
For those unfamiliar with the plot of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, a primer might help you to enjoy this fast-paced performance a bit more. Perhaps refer to one of the best 90's Rom-Coms out there, "Ten Things I Hate About You", which is based on Shakespeare's play. (And honestly, it's a delightful movie - so watch it anyway.)
Can't resist seeing Shit-faced Shakespeare for yourself? Join the fun Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights throughout the month of December at Spider House Ballroom. For tickets and more information, visit: http://www.shitfacedshakespeare.com/