Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet

Some might argue that tackling Hamlet is a task best left to those who aren’t in danger of spilling their beer mid-monologue. If you’re looking for a performance free of dirty jokes, foul language, and sexual references you won’t find it at Shit-Faced Shakespeare. Instead, you’ll find a drunken cast member set loose for the specific purpose of derailing the Prince of Denmark’s search for vengeance with a little mischief.

This, of course, results in a keg load of hilarious unpredictability, showcasing the comedic brilliance and improvisational skills of both the drunk performer and the sober cast members, who must operate around the version of Hamlet the drunk cast member brings to life through a combination of actual Shakespeare and complete spit-balling.

The performance I attended featured a shit-faced Hamlet (played by James Murfitt), whose inebriated state resulted in a dramatic romantic sub-plot between Hamlet and Laertes,  the discovery of previously unearthed father and son issues between the dead king’s ghost and the prince, a brief chance for Ophelia to be an independent woman, and perhaps most surprisingly for one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, a happily ever after.

Despite the unpredictability of the sub-plots, the entire production operates like a well-oiled machine and any drunken detours taken toward jokes gone too far, or tangents carried on for too long, are quickly redirected by the sober cast, as well as the use of an air horn. The danger of the performer sobering up is likewise combated with a little audience participation, most of which is best left as a surprise.

So, if you don’t mind a little foul-mouthing and spilled beer, and if you’re looking for a show filled with an hour of riotous non-stop laughter, drunken shenanigans, a somewhat familiar story and a cast that’s having as much fun as the audience, then stop, and look no further; you’ll find it all in Shit-Faced Shakespeare.

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Rachael Stapleton

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet is running until March 15

For more information and to purchase tickets click here

Galactic Trek: The Search for Zork

The cast of Giant Nerd Australia’s improv comedy Galactic Trek, returned to Fringe this year at the Rob Roy Hotel, this time with their show The Search for Zork. This show had the crew of the USS ImproCity visit a planet full of the undead, which they must try to stop from spreading across the galaxy. For an hour, they presented a story that was both fun and evoked a feeling of Star Trek: The Original Series.

A highlight of Galactic Trek is how it pays homage to low budget sci-fi films and TV shows. This was clear in their descriptions and sound effects. The doors would almost never open on time, the transporter sound would take some time to appear and the bridge is described as being held together by tape. For Star Trek fans, there were references galore, the Kirk vs. Spock battle music being a notable one. Being a fan of sci-fi myself, I found all these little references well done. Even with few props, the actors were able to convey everything effectively.

Another highlight was the characters. Captain Bill Jamieson, one of the main characters, had a very Captain Kirk essence to him, in both appearance and acting. The character of Zork had a very ’80s sci-fi appearance, particularly with his green head and horns. The standout character though was a red shirt called Jones Jonesy. Jonesy is how I imagine Blackadder’s Baldric would be if he were in outer space.

The show wasn’t without its shortcomings. While it did have a lot of funny moments, a lot of these were based on sci-fi references. This did not affect me as I already knew the jokes, but not everyone would understand them. For a show about searching for Zork, there was little actual searching for him. The actual search for Zork was minor to the plot, which made me wonder why they would call it the search for Zork. It should also be noted that Zork’s actor’s pants ripped during the performance, which was by no means the actor’s fault but did detract from the experience slightly.

Galactic Trek: The Search for Zork is a whole lot of improv sci-fi fun. It had many great references and a very Original Series plot. While there were a few shortcomings, it was still a fun time. Fans of sci-fi would really enjoy this show and its unique spin on Star Trek.

3.5/5


Words by Cameron Lowe

You can catch Galactic Trek: The Search for Zork at Rob Roy Hotel until the 10th of March. For ticketing and more click here.

Quest Time!

For an hour, Improv Adelaide’s Quest Time! turned the Adelaide Room at the Duke of Brunswick into a mystical world filled with magic weapons and doppelganger monsters. Quest Time! is an improv comedy with fantasy roleplaying game (RPG) elements from games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). It’s a weird combination, but it brought an evening of laughs, engaging characters and some unexpected WTF moments.
Although an odd combination, improv and RPG elements work very well together in Quest Time!. The main characters of the show are formed by the audience, common in improv, which is everything from their fantasy race( (eg. elf, dwarf, gnome) to their name. This show started in a day spa with two gnomes, one being a towel apprentice and her master, a great warrior. Where the D&D elements come into play is the use of the d20 die. It is here that I found the combination of improv and RPG elements at their best together. Whatever the game master rolled affected the outcome of the story, changing it before my very eyes.
The game master gave effective descriptions and brought me into the world. At one stage, I actually felt as though I were in the world myself, trudging through a swamp and sitting in a cave covered in bones and gore. The mixture of fantasy music also brought me further into the world, enhancing my experience overall.
The comedy worked very well in the show. The performers did a really good job improvising their act, which in turn made the show funnier. My favourites of these was a nonplayer character (NPC), who played an Irish/Scottish man searching for his daughter. The performer’s accent was down pat and had me laughing each time they made their appearance.
While I did enjoy the characters, acting, and comedy, I did find the story very difficult to follow. The randomised style made the main plot very difficult to follow and I couldn’t quite follow some of the character stories. This did bug me but it’s how the show is meant to be played out. The plot is not meant to be clear and changes with each viewing.
Quest Time! is a whole lot of improvised fun. I really enjoyed my version of the show and the improvised acting is very well done. If you enjoy improv comedy and RPGs then I highly recommend you see this show. It’s a whole lot of randomised fun!

 


Words by Cameron Lowe

Four stars

Quest Time! is playing at The Duke of Brunswick Hotel February 20-21, 26-28. Tickets available here.

 

Sense and Spontaneity

Presented by Esther Longhurst and Jess Mess, Sense and Spontaneity is an improv show which changes night to night. In true Jane Austen fashion however, the women keep to the traditional problems facing Austen women: they are headstrong and in want (or just lacking) a husband.

 

Thursday’s show began with an interview, of sorts, as two audience members were pulled up on stage to outline their relationship and perceptions of one another. This formed the basis for the show, one woman taking on the role of Jessica Smith, a girl who was fierce like stormy water, but also contained like a lake. She was strong minded and strong willed—the perfect Austen heroine.

 

With the heroine created the story just fell into place as Miss Jessica Smith, escorted by her childhood playmate-come-nemesis, Mr. Roberts, travels to London to seek a suitable match in society. Practically a spinster at twenty-four, Jessica is quickly taken in by Mr. Greyhat, a man who admires her strong mind, wit, and creative practices. However, soon after the marriage is announced it is Roberts who reveals that Greyhat isn’t all he seems—a drinker, a gambler, and a Casanova.

 

Interspersed pop-culture references, both Esther and Jess keep the audience on their feet, never knowing whether the show will keep to Austen form or show that not only is poetry the food of love, but so too is dancing as the show fell away into a dance off.

 

With a variety of hats and an easily perceptible change in personalities, both women display their talents in improv with their ability to keep track of their characters and take any malfunctions in their stride. Entirely entertaining.

 


Words by Kayla Gaskell.

 

Four stars.

 

Sense and Spontaneity will be playing at 6:30pm on the 16th, 17th, and 18th of February at the National Wine Centre. Tickets are available here.

Unplotted Potter

If you like improv; if you like comedy; or if you’ve ever felt the desire to delve into some wildly speculative background stories of Hogwarts’ most obscure characters — UnPlotted Potter is the must-see Adelaide Fringe show for you.

 

I first saw UnPlotted Potter at last year’s Fringe, and was left enchanted and deeply amused, so when I saw that Scriptease were putting on another season this year, I signed up right away.

 

UnPlotted Potter starts off with the names of three underrepresented or obscure Potterverse characters being drawn from the “Goblet of Fire”. Relying on audience members to select a favourite, the cast then immediately delves into an over-the-top and constantly hilarious construction of the chosen character’s origin story.

 

Friday night’s show had the choice of Susan Bones (a Hufflepuff from Harry Potter’s year), Mr Ollivander (the ancient and somewhat creepy wand-maker), and Professor Arsenius Jigger (an old professor of Potions and the Dark Arts, and author of three books) immediately dubbed “Arse Jigger” by the cast. After a majority win, Mr Ollivander’s origin story was played out. Opening with Ollivander’s son, Devon, “picking up things” in the Forbidden Forest as punishment after kicking a professor down the moving staircase (the stairs kept moving and she fell for three weeks), the story followed his rebellious yearning to move away from the family wand-making business; and saw his father (Mr Ollivander), his grandfather (also Mr Ollivander), and his great-great grandfather (another Mr Ollivander) as they worked to try and convince him to stay in the family business that had been around since 382 BC.

 

Over the hour-long show, topics covered ranged from Hogwarts sex education, to pirate first-aid, and even Ollivander’s secret past as a travelling bard and exotic dancer. The cast were quick-witted and adapted well to each scene change, and even managed to smoothly incorporate the sound of an audience member’s keys that fell on the floor into their act.

 

Perhaps the best part of this show is that every night is a completely new and different performance, meaning you could see it again and again, and by all means — you should!

 


Words by Kirtsty van der Veer

4 stars.

Unplotted Potter is playing at Tandanya Theatre at Live From Tandanya until March 18, except March 12 and 13. Tickets available here.

Improv Against Humanity

Who doesn’t love a good game of Cards Against Humanity? We all know it’s done right if someone is snorting and someone else is crying with laughter. It didn’t get to quite that point on Saturday night but there was a lot of laughter coming from both the audience and the presenters.

 

Hidden away in the Producers Warehouse on Grenfell Street, it is only a short walk from the main bedlam of the Garden and Gluttony. The show opened with the opening theme song (Improv… Against Humanity) and six performers on stage before host Damien Vosk took centre stage to orchestrate the setup of their act. White cards were given to the audience while Damien had four black cards to ask. These questions and answers would go on to inspire the improv part of the show.

 

As you can imagine, things got a little weird, what with Santa and Rudolph killing parents, an insurance company refusing to cover damages caused by big black dick, a cop that was more obsessed with his dog than solving crime, and some very interesting things coming through a checkout.

 

We met Santa, Rudolph, the elves, and a Missus Claus who delighted in feeding Santa. There was a cop obsessed with his crime-fighting dog (their main crime crackdown was on J-walkers). A man who refused to admit that his Sweet Richard might be to blame for his internal pelvic factures. And two checkout chicks—one who was going to break the world record for sex.

 

With jokes about dogs, dick, death, and fat-fetishism, it was good for a laugh. I would give it three stars out of five, although the show would certainly be improved with a mic.

 


Words by Kayla Gaskell

Three stars.

Improv Against Humanity is playing at The Producers every night except Mondays until March 2. Tickets available here.