Leicester Square Theatre
Playing until: 6th January 2024
Review (AD-PR Invite)
Returning for the fourth year to celebrate the festive season. Charles Dickens (James Murfit), in his very revealing golden leggings, presents an overview of the evening, which is Ebenezer Scrooge’s encounter with five totally sh!tfaced actors. The concept promises to be a messy, but highly humourous and spectacular show.
Four lantern carrying actors enter the stage singing ‘It’s a wonderful time of the year’, with steady steps and clear dictions, for now. They are Scrooge (John Mitton)’s family and have come to visit, and Scrooge is of course doing his accounts and is not ready to join in on the Christmas festivities. Aligning well with what we know of Scrooge, he is a cold-hearted and miserable old man who failed to respond to any attempt to cheer him up with a mean answer. Scrooge complains and complains, and he isn’t exactly the most sober person in the room by this point. His words and his behavior can be described as erratic at best and at worst, totally incomprehensible. However, it is also fair to say that most of the audience has likely consumed a similar amount of alcohol by this stage.
The Ghost of Christmas past (Katy Baker) is the first spirit to make their entrance, who presents a sad story about Scrooge’s childhood. Despite bringing in the happy memory of Scrooge’s beloved sister, Fan, who came to take him home one Christmas, this is not enough to bring Scrooge happiness. As the play goes on, Murfit’s Dickens tries his best to keep some sense in the story as the audience bear witness to several scenes and dialogues from the novel, but they gradually lose semblance to Dickens’s original story and even becomes mixed up with Harry Potter references. At this stage, the actors began to slur their words and the audience joining the cast in a singalong.
The actors, including the Ghost of Christmas present (Daniel Quirke), really tried to follow the script, sometimes it works and sometimes not. When he said, ‘I only understand 20% of that’, he wasn’t far off and the audience was right there with him! Through all of this, the audience is continued to be encouraged by Dickens to request more drinks for the actors, who make fun of each other and send the script flying to the trash as they become more and more intoxicated. We never got to see the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, but fortunately for the audience, that is not really the objective of the night.
This production gives the audience a true taste of actors going wild and a somewhat improvised play that is full of non-sense, barely understandable, and incredibly irreverent. This returning show is a personification of the British drinking culture and is perfectly suited to put us in the Christmas spirit.
Original Sh!t-faced concept: Lewis Ironside, Chris Snelson, Sh!t-Faced Showtime
Director: Katy Baker
Musical Director: Charlotte Brooke