by Diana Miranda
Laughter is an infiltration strategy, and Slap ‘N’ Tickle Theatre Company certainly use it to talk about the darker aspects of sex in Spit Me Out.
Two couples at a dinner party decide to spice up the conversation by sharing past sexual experiences. What starts as a light-hearted chat quickly turns into the disclosure of life-changing incidents. Whenever the conversation strikes a chord – the kind that people tend to tone down with chuckles and indifference – the cast dress up in red, shiny vests to unmask the matter by delighting the audience with, say, a porn song, a masculinity ring fight battle or an Ed Sheeran-y ballad about consent.
The creative cast (Lawrence Harp, Madeleine Gordon, Drew Rafton and Lizzie Wooten) give their all performing the songs. Wide eyes and toothy smiles along with fists up and a bit of can-can dancing infuse the show with energy, detonating rounds of cheering and clapping from the audience. However, it seems like the energy overflows, and the performers tend to lose focus or rush in a way that turns into slip-ups in the show’s pace. As a result, the comedy bits sometimes don’t linger enough to allow for savouring their deeper meaning. This is more evident in the group scripted sketches, in which there’s a feeling that the energy that emanates from the music sections remains dispersed in the air before settling down into the scene. However, the individual performances in which each character reveals sensitive issues are powerful. Each actor pulls the energy in during these solo moments, holding the audience’s focus tightly in a heart-rending way.
While Spit Me Out is a piece written and devised by the cast, each performer brings a different drive to the show so the energy feels out of balance. But the bar is set high, with Lawrence Harp always at the highest point. Whether it was a witty line or a sorrowful confession, his performance is gripping – the kind that makes you forget you are holding a pint halfway to your mouth. Although, in the bigger picture, that effect is also down to the scenes’ funny-then-gloomy contrast devised by the company, making the show dynamic and emotionally charged. Spit Me Out offers an entertaining night with fun music and cheeky sketches that spit out conversations regarding aggression and male-led sex that people tend to gulp down.
Spit Me Out runs through 10 August.
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