Slutmonster and Friends tells the tale of two bickering brothers, Larch (Lucas Heil) and Bovril (Wes Gardner) who find themselves at Death’s Door in a strange land. They meet a furry hermaphroditic creature (Jessie Ngaio) and her woodland friends, and proceed to descend further into madness. It’s a sick, twisted and perverted play that’s gutbustingly hilarious.
With a brightly coloured day-glo set featuring phallic mushrooms and tit covered trees, it was apparent that this was going to be a gaudy, over the top and lewd production. The monster’s bright pink costume complete with breasts and large schlong was as brilliant as it was disturbing and is sure to grasp the attention of the Furry crowd. Colourful, innocent puppet characters (operated by each of the trio when their characters were off stage) were a perfect contrast to the dark story by adding some cheerful optimism to the events.
At it’s core this show was a musical with many jaunty songs giving background details to the action. This contrast between content and delivery provided the comedic power. The graphic lyrical imagery provoked guilty nervous laughter as well as belly laughs as you tapped your toe to the upbeat music.
Heil and Gardner bounced brilliantly off one another as a comedic duo. They stuck to their roles of straight man and wacky guy but each got their fair share of amusing Pythonesque lines. The script delivered plenty of laughs while progressing the plot at a quick clip. The duo also got to flex their dramatic muscles as the story approached the gates of hell. Their physical performances were great with slapstick and exaggerated simulated sex pulled off with ease.
Ngaio’s performance as the monster was wonderful; grinning like an ignorant idiot as all sorts of deviant sexual acts were performed on her and plenty of gruesome carnage occurred. The strange animalistic eroticism exuded by her was exploited for many laughs. It was the classic portrayal of the misunderstood monster protagonist.
The dramatic structure to this show was brilliant. Animated segments employed the “unreliable narrator” literary device by portraying a fairytale-style sanitised version of the depraved events taking place on stage. When the shit hit the fan at the dramatic apex, the darkness was drawn out beyond breaking point; a point which would kill any other comedy show. Following it up with the stupidest sequence imaginable to release the tension was a master stroke. There were plenty of plot twists to keep the audience on their toes and divert the plot from obvious places. Although some action took place off stage, hints in the form of clever props and off the cuff remarks by particiants let the audience put together the gruesome details.
This show may look simple and purely base on the surface, but there is a depth to it that will provoke discussion afterwards. Allusions to The Tempest and a visual nod to a CSI trope had it pulling literary references from all corners with many elements still being discovered on the drive home. In fact most audience members were laughing and chatting about it all the way onto the street. It’s such an affective piece that I could have sworn I heard someone humming the Slutmonster’s theme song!
Despite the use of puppets, the late night time slot and vivid language in the blurb ensure that this show won’t be mistaken for family friendly fare. It certainly won’t appeal to the prudish but if you like your humour on the perverted side, you’ll be gagging for more.
Slutmonster and Friends is on at Club Voltaire until October 14.
For Further info visit the Melbourne Fringe website http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/slutmonster-and-friends/