Drunk Shakespeare – Off Broadway

Proving that Shakespeare’s work is malleable enough for almost anything, along comes Drunk Shakespeare. Proving that at least the lead actor is indeed starting with four quick shots of tequila, one cast member came out with a tray of five shots and invited me to choose one. The sharp burn confirmed that we were in for quite a night. The thespian downed the remaining four shots while revving up the crowd with a few choice sonnet excerpts.

The relatively interactive production is set in a rectangular room staged to look like a library. The cast drifts in and among the audience, as does the staff delivering a steady stream of drinks to those inclined.

The truncated version of Macbeth includes enough of the original text to let you know the plot is generally being followed. But it is the improvisatory asides that bring the biggest laughs.

Occasionally the plot is paused while a designated king and queen for the evening are allowed to direct yet further shots be consumed, to ensure the eponymous title of the production is being delivered.

Even if you are only mildly familiar with Shakespeare, the premise is sufficiently unique and wacky that a splendid time is had by all.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.