Returning to Leicester Square Theatre for a triumphantly tipsy fourth year, festive hit A Pissedmas Carol combines cast members from Sh!t-faced Showtime and Sh!t-faced Shakespeare for an all-singing, tipple-slinging, merriment-bringing truly alternative Christmas knees-up you won’t have seen before. Featuring a West End cast of professional actors with a single, genuinely inebriated cast member thrown into the mix, audiences are invited to pull up a stool, relax and watch the festive chaos unfold. We took the opportunity to speak to producer and cast member James Murfitt to find out more.
Q) Before we begin, can you tell us a little bit more about your Sh!t-faced Showtime and Shit!-faced Shakespeare companies and the work you do?
We are a group of actors and friends who came together over 13 years ago to perform Shakespeare while drunk - in 2015 we decided to see how difficult it would be for one nominated drunk actor to perform a musical with songs and dances while drunk. Turns out it’s quite hard indeed! But, oh, so rewarding.
Q) What inspired you to come up with this hilarious concept?
Sh!tfaced Shakespeare began over 13 years ago at music festivals and gigs. In the early stages, names were picked out of a hat and the nominated actor would have a bit of a free for all in terms of the imbibing element beforehand - now we have a little more structure - we rota when people will drink on which nights so actors know not to have a driving test or a bar mitzvah booked in the next day. Actors never drink two nights in a row and never for more than four times in a month. I reckon this probably makes us the most sober performers you’ll encounter in London’s West End!
Q) This year, you will be performing an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale – A
Christmas Carol, do audiences need to be familiar with this story to enjoy the show?
It would be handy for them to know that the show features a curmudgeonly bloke called Scrooge and a few ghosts but other than that...the drunk will mess around with the story so much that I would advise against using our production as a study aid for any English students studying the text in schools!
Q) We must ask this question – what is the most popular alcoholic beverage for a cast
member to become intoxicated?
Gin and Tonic has always been very popular back in the day, although with cast members seeking a healthier alternative Vodka soda and lime has crept into the lead now. Prosecco always a favourite too!
Q) Does the prospect of being drunk on stage excite a company member or make them more nervous?
Always excitement! Even for those who have been around for a few years I don’t think the alcohol soaked adrenaline ever fully wears off.
Q) Has there been any particular highlights of previous shows that have stuck with you?
Harry Potter and Kim Woodburn somehow made it into the show as characters on one occasion, and I think tiny Tim was a drug dealer at one point... there’s too much mad shit to remember!
Q) Are there certain plot developments that the cast try to perform every night to help carry the narrative forward, or will every show be completely different?
Due to the nature of a different drunk actor playing a different character every night, the show will always be completely different. Wherever possible the sober actors around the drunk try to steer the show towards some semblance of the original story - luckily the musical structure helps move the drunk along with songs and dances to keep them on track!
Q) What can audiences expect from Sh!t-faced Showtime: A Pissedmas Carol?
Carnage. Burping. Drooling. Singing. Dancing. Swearing. Possible nudity. Possible lines of Dickens.
A Pissedmas Carol runs at Leicester Square theatre from the 28th November until the 6th January. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.