Where to even begin… Puppetry of the Penis is an experience like no other. The 60-minute show will have you laughing, fighting tears and depending on your situation below the belt – the urge to cross your legs. This is a show that doesn’t just hinge on the absurd, but openly revels in it, flaunts it and twists it like so much of the male genitalia it has on display.

The global phenomenon and notorious ’98 Melbourne export broke away from its tenure in Las Vegas last week to once again grace our fair shores, with L.V. cast Rich Binning and Barry Brisco supplying the meat of the production. Subiaco’s gorgeous Regal Theatre was packed on Friday night, with the very predominately female crowd eagerly giggling with anticipation. The same play house that housed high-culture icons like Phantom of the Opera and Wicked was now poised for their antithesis, an evening of perfectly stupid male nudity and dick-jokes. Somehow it all worked, and by the time Rich and Barry took to the stage (in star-spangled capes and knee socks) the applause was already raucous. The two entertainers could hardly stop grinning themselves, and a genuine love for their craft was as palpable as their complete lack of shame.

Really, they’re just entertainers. The entire premise is ridiculous (they’ll tell you that themselves) and could easily lose novelty by the third trick, but it’s the skill and incredible stage-presence that transforms the show into a genuine comedic triumph. The duo is ceaselessly energetic, relentlessly funny and at all times self-aware – whether they’re in the middle of stretching their scrotum or fending off cat-calls. This is the ancient Australian art of genital origami, and they take it very seriously. Watching a man turn his genitals 180-degrees and into the shape of the Eiffel Tower is a difficult thing to react to, but it’s the skill of the performers that make it an enjoyable one.

Every trick gets played in zoom and high-definition on an enormous screen on stage – a particularly helpful prop for those sitting further back, and a particularly funny one to Rich and Brian (6-feet measurements would go to any man’s head). Pop-culture was worked into the repertoire with tricks such as ‘The Kardashian’, ‘The Kanye’ and ‘The Miley Cyrus’ getting some of the biggest laughs, and of course the ever-unavoidable Trump made a cameo, too.

To seemingly make the experience as awkward as possible, the show demands audience participation, and on Friday a young woman was sold-out by her friends to ascend the stage and help with a trick. Suffice to say, blushing was rapid, and an audience that was parts-jealous, parts-survivor’s guilt, welcomed her back to her seat as a hero.

The audience were encouraged to film one trick and one trick alone: the infamous ‘Hamburger’ (think ‘testicle patties and 90-degree rotation’). So, if you find yourself burning with curiosity, this is the thing to google (no judgement). This visual caviar came with a caveat, however, as it signalled the time for male participation. Feeling slightly challenged by the duo’s bravery (I hate losing at chicken), I had to break the awkward pause with my own hand. Now, I’m not saying yours truly “did” get on stage and contort their penis in front of a packed house, but I’m also not saying I didn’t. I will tell you that I emerged from this show a changed man.

So, will Puppetry of the Penis change your life? Probably not. But will it “have you laughing until your face aches”? That is one very strong ‘yes’.

 

Rich and Brian are returning to Las Vegas after their successful Australian tour. Stay updated on tours and information to catch Puppetry of the Penis next time. 

 

Image supplied by A-List Entertainment.