Jon Bennett’s Pretending Things are a Cock – Review from 2/4/2010

This show was originally reviewed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on 2/4/2010 on the Groggy Squirrel website, we are republishing it here because Jon is taking this show to Edinburgh Fringe 2012. We don’t know if the show will be exactly as this one was 2 years ago, but this review should give you an idea.

Review

By Colin Flaherty.

This could possibly be the most ambitious project of the festival. For the better part of the last couple of years, Jon Bennett has travelled the world, posing for photographs that utilised all manner of phallic objects. This has resulted in a website, a facebook page where fans submit their own ‘cocks’, an exhibition, a coffee table book (available for sale from Jon) and this art/standup hybrid. It has become a worldwide phenomenon!

The first ten or fifteen minutes was time for the punters to enter the gallery and peruse the art at their leisure. The works were exactly as you would expect; Jon with all manner of objects projecting from his groinal region and an intense expression on his face. Each photo was accompanied by a title describing the object being used, my personal favorite being ‘Paper, Scissors, Cock’. It was all rather puerile and silly but a cellist playing in the background gave the event a tongue in cheek classy tone. After being handed an instructional pamphlet we were encouraged to make use of the various objects provided to create our own ‘cocks’.

Jon conducted a gallery tour of sorts by pointing out various photos and giving us some background to their creation, reciting some hilarious travel tales. Despite not being prepared enough to point out where exactly they were located in the room, this presentation was delightful and enthralling.

Moving into the theatre area of the venue, the performance became a type of storytelling show with Jon seated in a small armchair on the stage. He used individual photos from the collection as a launching point for various tales. He didn’t go into technical details about the photos but more their importance to his life and experiences. In this instance, he told us a fair bit about his family and upbringing; pondering how he became obsessed with penises. There were also tales involving a couple of people he met and befriended on his travels. These tended to veer into drug stories but were very well told so as to appeal to all. Jon promised he would have different tales each time so multiple visits may be worthwhile.

On the surface this show appeared to be merely reliant on the most base of concepts, but Jon had successfully used this silly obsession as a basis for some much deeper comedy. His brilliant tales of relationships and male sexuality revealed plenty of warmth and insight into Jon as a person. This was a unique event that is worth checking out.

For booking details at Edinburgh Fringe http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/pretending-things-are-a-c-ck

Sexytime Fundraiser and Review from 22/2/2011

By Lisa Clark

The Following is a Review from last year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival originally published on Chortle.au. Sexytime was one of my favourite shows of the 2011 Fringe. It’s being re published because Tessa & Kai are taking this show to the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This is a huge undertaking for artists and on Wednesday 13th of June at 8pm they will be performing the show at The Order of Melbourne as a fundraiser for the trip. If you missed the show at Fringe or at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival,  I can highly recommend you go see it and help them on their way

Details can be found Here

Sexytime – Review from 22/2/2011

Tessa Waters and Kai Smythe are very brave. Not only because they are performing a comedy show with barely any words, but because they begin it with barely anything on.

Where else to begin an exploration of sex, but with Genesis? In little more than flesh coloured underwear and leaves, they give us an amusing take on Adam & Eve. The leaves drop and reveal naughty bits drawn on with Texta. It’s a sort of extreme version of the nude suits that Judith Lucy, Denise Scott and Linda Gibson used to wear, and it can be a bit confronting in the front row.

Tessa and Kai obviously have a very close relationship off stage, for they often get quite intimate. Between sketches their on-stage interaction reminds me of Die Roten Punkte, with Tessa’s Germanic accent sealing this impression. Kai does not speak at all but still manages to create a fabulous sleazy yet somehow endearing persona. Their flirting with the audience has a consequence that surprises everyone when a girl’s dad kisses Kai on the cheek. He reacts perfectly by going all coy, yet strangely delighted.

The show itself is a neat 50 minutes of silent skits set to music, all about sex. They tend to involve a lot of mime and interpretive dance, so if these aren’t your thing, you might want to find some stand-up. Still if you stayed you might be pleasantly surprised, as was I. Tessa and Kai are simply  hilarious at what they do. I particularly enjoyed the armed combat with cardboard ‘penis and boob’ shield vs cardboard ‘cross with Bible’ shield, played out to the overdramatic strains of O Fortuna from Carmina Burana. Appropriate music, with lyrics that are a celebration of sex, gambling and drinking written by some very naughty monks.

Their final and longest sketch presented all the awkward horrors and delights of a first date that lasts ’til morning. Stripped back down to their undies, the sweet ending mirrors the opening sketch but with an appropriately happier, healthier outcome. Not all the sketches are as brilliant, but their kooky characters are able to pull it all off – so to speak – and keep the audience in fits.

Tessa Waters and Kai Smythe are performing Sexytime at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012 at Underbelly Cowgate Check out the website for details