I‘m not entirely certain that the glorification of intoxication is a public good, but I don’t think it can be argued that it’s not good for a laugh.
The premise for this piece is beautiful in its simplicity: perform one of Shakespeare’s works with a lead actor completely sloshed. To maintain the premise, a couple of audients are provided with instruments for calling for another drink for the actor, and an audient in the splash zone is put on bucket duty.
Though it may not please the purists, my immediate sensation was that this manner of presentation is possibly even truer to the style of performance in Elizabethan London than the present-day Globe. It’s bawdy and the audience are involved and don’t mind calling out.
But that’s probably where the argument for this as an authentic Shakespearean experience ends. It’s a laugh, and as far as great performances go, there’s little more than some quality improvisation to praise.
The play is shortened to one hour, which is an improvement, but does necessitate a certain amount of assumed knowledge of Shakespeare’s work.
In all, this is a great idea that’s good for one laugh, but I’m not likely to bother a second time.