Leicester Square Theatre – until 6th January 2024
Reviewed by Fiona Leyman
“Scrooge was pissed to begin with”.
From the creators of Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare, the team at Sh!t-Faced Showtime are back with this not so classic telling of Charles Dickens A Pissedmas Carol. As you’ve probably guessed from the title, there is something quite different about this tale. Scrooge is absolutely, blind stinking drunk! Disregard everything you know about this timeless Christmas story, because you will probably see little of this here.
Our merry inebriated Scrooge this evening was played by John Mitton, who knocked back 2 small bottles of Merlot, half a bottle of Jim Bean Whisky, and who knows how many beers to prepare himself for a performance of a lifetime. During his ‘performance’ he states, “It’s at this point I know I have failed as an actor”. On the contrary, this was pure comedy gold, and the audience erupted into loud laughter throughout. James Murfitt left little to the imagination in his very tight gold leggings as Charles “Dick-in’s”. He tried his best to keep Scrooge on script and on time (failing miserably) for the entirety of the performance.
Somehow and I honestly don’t know how this came about, this tale took an unexpected turn as Scrooge decided he was at Hogwarts, and for the remainder of the show, the Harry Potter theme continued. Spells were being cast, The Ghost of Christmas Past became Dobby, and Scrooge is reminded repeatedly that he is “Not a Wizard”. Modern Cultural references flew in as John failed to remain in character, got distracted by Mike from Stranger Things calling to him through the Christmas lights and decided that he was now Tiny Tim’s father.
The improvisational skills of the sober actors on stage were impressive. They play seamlessly off drunken Scrooge and his inaudible ramblings, managing to continue this strange storyline in the way he is envisioning it. This in turn made this show even funnier as you did not know what was going to happen next. This is the amazing thing about improv comedy, what happens one night, may not happen the next, making each performance unique to the audience watching it.
This show is full of chaos, drunken ramblings and laugh out moments, as some of the best improv actors, try and control the stage around them. Katy Baker, Issy Wroe Wright, Hal Hillman and Daniel Quirke wow the audience with their incredible voices during their array of Christmas and not so Christmas songs. I never imagined The Proclaimers 500 Miles could be turned in to a Christmas Carol, but they somehow managed to pull it off.
I’ve said in previous reviews that A Christmas Carol was my favourite Christmas story of all time. I’ve seen so many different adaptations on this tale (some good, some not so much), but in the darkest depths of my imagination, I could not have possibly constructed the version that unfolded at the Leicester Square Theatre. You do wonder how much of this is just acting, as opposed to being intoxicated, but this is unique concept (probably drunk when they came up with it), that will make audiences laugh, smile and forget their troubles at this wonderful time of the year.