Random 8

Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet

The 2022 cast of Sh!t-faced Shakespeare. Copyright: Rah Petherbridge

One random comedian, eight random questions; it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate. This week two top thespians join us, both completely sober - odd thing to point out, you say (having presumably missed the title)?

Well that's because Lucy Farrar and Richard Hughes are both in the cast of Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare, in which an otherwise splendidly-acted Shakey production - in this case Romeo and Juliet, at London's Leicester Square Theatre until mid-September - is enlivened by one of the cast getting absolutely w@nkered.

What a way to make a living, as the great bard Dolly Parton once sang. But how did it all begin, originally?

"As far as I know, the idea came about out of desperation to fill a one hour slot at a music festival in 2010," says Hughes. "I believe our glorious leader had had this bizarre and inappropriate notion rattling about his brain for quite some time, and decided this was the moment to put it into action. The results were at best questionable, and here we all are twelve years later."

Farrar elaborates. "As a member of SFS for only four years, its origins have become more like myths; passed down year to year with many different variants. However, the legend of the first ever drinking show is noteworthy.

"During a comedy festival, the drunk drank way over their limits to the point of needing to go to hospital, rumour circulated that an actor had been killed and the show in which someone had died was a 'must see show' drawing hundreds of audience members. The drunk (who is still a member of the cast) went on again the following night. What a trooper."

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The sh!t-faced show must go on. And how serious is the prep that goes into these productions, before someone ruins it?

"I would compare our rehearsal process to a rigorous training exercise for an event that will definitely never happen the way you've prepared for it," Hughes admits. "But if it ever did happen uninterrupted, we would be able to present as slick and well-rehearsed a performance of Shakespeare as anywhere."

We don't doubt it. Lucy Farrar and Richard Hughes, your Random 8 await.

What was your career dream, as a kid?

LF: A nurse. I was clearly watching a lot of Holby City at the time.

RH: Archaeologist. Just loved dinosaurs.

When were you most embarrassed?

RH: Dressed in bin bags as a gimp with my 'mistress' Ryan (also dressed in bin bags, just much more attractively) in 2007 in Windhoek.

LF: I was recently at the hairdressers and accidentally asked for a blow job instead of a blow dry. I gave her a big tip in the hope that she'd forget about my slip up.

The 2022 cast of Sh!t-faced Shakespeare. Copyright: Rah Petherbridge

What's the best (non-comedy) room you've ever been in?

RH: I mean I've had some lovely evenings in pubs, if they count.

LF: I once found myself at a party with Judi Dench, Catherine Tate and Jude Law. A very surreal moment.

Is there a film or show you'd love to have been in (and which part)?

RH: Withnail & I, Paul McGann's character Marwood (not that I could have done it better than him of course). Or the fifth Doctor in the 1981-83 seasons of Doctor Who.

LF: Ab Fab. No question about it. Jennifer Saunders somehow shoehorns Lecoq and Lacroix into the same show seamlessly and where champagne is a basic dietary requirement. What's not to love?

Which British town should be abolished?

RH: I'd be up for merging some towns maybe? But I don't want to be abolishing anywhere! Just think of the admin.

LF: I once visited a museum in a town called Bodmin. I can still picture the grotesque life-sized museum figures now. It would be quite extreme to abolish the whole town for one museum but, hey, I gotta do what I gotta do.

What's the best thing in your wardrobe?

LF: My Gran's vintage handbag. It was actually stolen on a mad night out in Huddersfield but only its contents had been taken leaving the bag strewn on a grim bathroom cubicle floor. Mobile phones are replaceable; the bag wasn't.

RH: My cat, when she gets in there.

What's the weirdest thing you ever ate?

RH: I'm not a fan of coriander. Either that or jellyfish (didn't taste of much to be fair, just very wobbly).

LF: I have a severe allergy to peanuts and once accidentally licked a crisp with peanut dusting. Another trip to the hospital and I survived to tell the tale.

Which live event would you most like to have attended?

LF: Probably the Ibiza rave scene during the 90s.

RH: The sermon on the mount? It'd answer a lot of questions.

Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare Do Romeo And Juliet is at the Leicester Square Theatre until 10th September. Tickets and information

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