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PUPPETRY OF THE PENIS gets 6/10

Puppetry Of The Penis @ Regal Theatre (Perth Comedy Festival)
Friday, May 11, 2018

6/10

One doesn’t attend a comedy show about cock expecting highbrow comedy – let’s be honest, we’re all there to laugh at flaccid penises because they’re funny, and the prospect of them being bent into possibly excruciating shapes in the name of genital origami. But there is still a middle ground to be found, where there is some entertaining and non-offensive commentary to be had, and sadly the boys of the Vegas version of this particular performance failed to deliver.

At the risk of sounding patriotist, the original Australian Puppetry of the Penis boys had this show locked down. It was brilliant, refreshing, hilarious, and became internationally renowned for more than just their ability to bend their bits into shapes for laughs. They were entertaining and witty and hilarity abounded throughout. Sadly, the Vegas version is entertaining for about half of the show, but you have to ignore Barry Brisco’s major misfires with dad jokes and outdated, sometimes offensive attempts at humour. Unfortunately, he dominates the microphone, where the younger, hipper Rich Binning could possibly be allowed time to shine and balance out Barry’s rhetoric.

From early in their set, the boys were tone deafeningly incorrect and Brisco had a major misfire with an off colour joke about an obvious dick trick – the mangina. We’ve all seen it, and there is nothing ground breaking about it, but to make a joke about this yawn worthy trick that we’ve seen before in movies such as The Crying Game, or Silence of the Lambs, or “more recently, Caitlyn Jenner’s house” seemed unnecessary. His commentary didn’t make any grand moves upwards from there. Time to put your dick out to pasture, Barry. While we’re cackling at your cock and your dick tricks, nobody needs your dad jokes here.

Binning is an utter delight, full of boyish wonder at what his junk can achieve for merriment, but offers little to the story. Every line is impeccable, the comic timing flawless, but Brisco’s attempts to overshadow him tend to succeed, which is rather unfortunate.

The utilisation of the big screen in the centre of the stage is pure brilliance. Not just for what is offered up to the seats in the back that might otherwise be missed, but seeing one man tickle another’s penis on a screen has never been so comical, and we all thank you for this gift. Further kudos is worthy for all the straight men in the audience who attended without any threat to their masculinity. Props in particular to audience member Dom, who happily volunteered for a lesson in genital origami from the boys onstage and on the big screen. Big ups to you, buddy.

Overall the show was a bit of a disappointment: overly rehearsed, played by rote and in dire need of an update. Charisma and brash nakedness are simply not enough to be truly entertaining, and the schtick ran cold after about half an hour.

NATALIE GILES

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