BWW Review: SH!T-FACED SHOWTIME: A PISSEDMAS CAROL, Leicester Square Theatre
Magnificent Bastard Productions reveal the latest festive ace up their sleeve, presenting A Pissedmas Carol. In true Shit-faced Showtime fashion, they grab a beloved story - in this case everyone's favourite Victorian Christmas yarn - and transform it into a jolly ol' drunken time by getting a member of the cast highly inebriated before the curtain goes up.
Press night saw Daniel Quirke as the designated drinker, while Mr Charles Dickens himself (Will Seaward) acted as emcee and made sure Ebenezer Scrooge's (James Murfitt) tale was being told properly and in its entirety. None of the sixty minutes of stage debauchery disappoints. The company flex their perceptive muscles once more for their ecstatic audiences, picking up on every little move their drunk companion makes and turning them into the running jokes that make each evening a different experience.
The intoxicated disruptions in Katie Baker's direction kick off a series of improvised vignettes that delight the crowd as much as the actors, who, in this case, had to deal with floating mince pies and a very peculiar greeting tradition among other instances. Two bonus chances to pause the show so the glitter-bearded author-turned-entertainer can hand another drink to the actor turn up the excitement, lifting the spirits even more by handing just the right amount of sadistic power to the patrons.
Charlotte Brooke's piano accompaniment allows Issy Wroe Wright to deliver a show-stopping (but still hilarious - the "frontal panel" of her dress had a place of honour in the lyrics) "Last Cristmas" as well as cheery ensemble numbers and a deeply amusing rendition of "Walking in the Air" sung as the protagonist and the Ghost of Christmas Past fly over London.
The unpredictability of the deviations from the narrative path and of all the sloshed mischief is simply exhilarating; the naughtiness that follows is marked by a sincere and good-hearted vein. A Pissedmas Carol is an uproarious Christmassy night out besides being a perfectly cheeky remedy to both pantos and other sentimental seasonal shows.
Image courtesy of Rah Petherbridge