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Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: Macbeth - Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024 (VIC)

Presented by A-List Entertainment.

Reviewed by Justin Clarke

Athenaeum Theatre - 188 Collins St, Melbourne

Until 21st April, 2024

The crowd favourite inebriated Shakespearean romp returns with a chaotic version of Macbeth that feels more scripted than drunkenly loose

A crowd favourite amongst festival goers around the world, Sh!t-faced Shakespeare returns with another helping of inebriated renditions of the Bard’s famous words. This year’s offering? The dark, violent Scottish tale of Macbeth.

For those unfamiliar with the Sh!t-faced Shakespeare set up, you can read my previous Shakespearen outing to see Romeo & Juliet at last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In a nutshell, one actor is very much drunk, whilst the other classically trained Shakespearean actors try their best to keep the show on track. 

The beautiful thing about the Sh!t-faced set up is that any actor of the cast can be the unfortunate drunkard, whilst the rest try their best to stay on task and work around the overtly gesticulating actor at the centre of it all. With this version of Macbeth the titular character was to be the one under the influence this evening, which seems entirely necessary. The only other option would have been for Lady Macbeth to be the chosen actor for the evening, as Macbeth is possibly, at its core, a strong two-hander amongst all the other characters. 

In comparison to other Sh!t-faced performances I’ve seen, this one didn’t have the “anything could happen” possibility before walking in. Indeed, the majority of the play felt a bit forced in its performance, with the other actors also breaking off and improvising their own lines when not needed, which took the stakes and risks out of the show itself.

Come for the shit-faced setup, stay for the inevitable descent into pure comedic Shakespearean madness.

Nonetheless, audiences were treated to plenty of laughs and gags you’d never thought you’d hear out of a Shakespeare show. Witch #2 talked of giving great blowjobs despite her mangled teeth, which led to Macbeth questioning why she was using teeth - and this madness was only in Scene 1! Other Shakespearean speeches were inherently going to receive a reaction from the drunken Macbeth, such as Lady Macbeth’s “I have given suck” line, which was a setup waiting to explode.

Despite Macbeth’s best efforts to keep on track and remember lines, he ultimately flailed and went to wherever his brain wanted to take him. The famous “Tomorrow, and tomorrow” speech ended up being a crowd sing along of “Candle in the Wind” instead. And now I can never unhear that.

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare is for lovers and haters of Shakespeare who want to see the bard knocked off his pedestal and brought down to the rest of the drunkards in the crowds on an evening out at the comedy festival. Come for the shit-faced setup, stay for the inevitable descent into pure comedic Shakespearean madness.

Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: Macbeth 2024

Sydney Comedy Festival Dates

Pavllion PAC Sutherland, 23 April, 2024; Concourse Chatswood, 26-28 April, 2024; Manning Bar, 8-19 May, 2024.



Wed & Thu $42.90

Fri & Sat $46.90

Sun $42.90


Wed & Thu $39.90

Fri & Sat $42.90

Sun $39.90

Group (6+):

Wed & Thu $39.90

Fri & Sat $42.90

Sun $39.90


All Tix $35.00

Tightarse Tuesday:


Tue 16 Apr - Sat 20 Apr: 9.30pm;

Sun 21 Apr: 8.30pm

Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne

This show contains: Occasional coarse language, References to or simulation of violence


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