Thursday 9 June 2011

A little bit of tweaking, a little less streaking

World of Wrong, New Wolsey Studio, Ipswich

Two girls clamber into black trouser suits, still hanging on a coat rail. The girls, now suited, peer out at the audience looking for instruction. In synch, they extricate themselves and, hangers still peeping out, dance around like string-puppet Charlie Chaplins. The suit jackets are discarded and the girls, so innocent at first, gallop around with their tassle taped breasts flying freely. It is bizarre, completely asexual and giddily entertaining.

If only Avis Cockbill (really?!) and Janine Fletcher had kept their clothes on more often. One dreads sounding prudish, but the more explicitly sexual components of this show do not, on the whole, work well. They feel indulgent and sometimes even cruel. And, most importantly, they aren’t very funny. Or original.

This is a company rich with unique talents, with the potential to provide a quirky take on life and theatre. There is something Monty Pythonesque about the ‘Wrongies’ lust for the bizarre. It is only when they go completely off track that they really their way. A large section of the show is devoted to ‘The Art of the Lunge’, with Cockbill and Fletcher providing a mini master class on this much-neglected craft. A video is projected of real-life lunging and the bizarre lines of ‘real’, public lungers are a nutty joy to behold.

There are other wonderful flights of fancy. At one point, again on screens, we are shown two paper puppets floating through a fantastical landscape. The backdrop is really just a massive ream of paper but the joy is in the freeness of invention, the personal flair of their strange imaginings. It is telling that the screened segments are some of the show’s best moments and perhaps suggests these brave but bonkers performers could be destined for TV sketch comedy.

But it is the extended ‘sexy sections’ that sell this show short. Great swathes of stage time are spent with with two placing each other in increasingly ambitious sexual positions. Blowjob jokes abound. Cum pours out of increasingly unlikely places. At one point, they even seem to re-enact a rape; ‘Be quiet. Don’t scream.’ Far from shocking, these scenes are actually the blandest and most predictable of the lot.

It is when these two take the sex out of sexy that the show finds its spark again. At one point, a girl dressed as a classical ballerina pulls out one of her breasts. It isn’t titillating, it’s just silly. She rubs her nipple until it’s practically dancing with her. And, at the end, the two girls dress in massive penis and vagina suits and dance out their absurd seduction. It’s like watching a hot dog wrestle with a massive paddling pool and, though it has a shimmer of sexiness, is really just good old fashioned panto. With a little bit of tweaking, and a little less streaking, these girls could be onto a winner.

Part of the Ipswich fringe festival Pulse, 26 May – 11 June 2011


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