Review: Bareback

4*
2nd Oct – Hen and Chickens London
This show has now closed

The expression “there’s a lot going on here” couldn’t have been more true of Horseplay’s latest show, Bareback. From an aspiring gay, Irish astronaut to the comic capers of Cori & Gina via the latest hit TV show Hottie Island where hot men duke it out to be the least emotionally expressive and empathetic, performers-singers-actors-comedians Derek Mitchell and Kathy Maniura take us on am absurd roller coaster ride with added jet packs.

In essence, the show is all about sex. The things no one tells us, the things we grow up believing, the things we’re shamed for and a whole host of other unhelpful narratives about what we should do, how long for and who with. Maniura and Mitchell are the tour guides of this wild and witty journey and it’s a delight to see them scroll through a number of great comic characters. Whilst I particularly liked Cori & Gina (aka anus and vagina), there was also a brief guest appearance from Timothée Chalamet and The Actress, destined to tread the boards (the Wife of Bath and the artisanal sex toy saleswoman were also fab but they didn’t get to hang around for very long). Oh, and most of the show takes place in the afterlife. If you’re struggling to put all the pieces together it’s best to just go and see it. I laughed a lot and felt in good hands for the hour, even when I was asked to hold a wooden dildo.

I think there was a poignant, nuanced take-home message somewhere underneath the absurdity but what it was I wasn’t quite sure. Personally, I didn’t need a moral and felt it might have got a bit lost under the comic capers. While I liked Cori’s heartfelt monologue on the pride and shame of bare backing it came as a bit of a surprise and seemed a bit incongruous in the light of what had gone before. Nevertheless, Maniura and Mitchell are hilarious, multi-talented folks and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

© Robert Holtom 2019

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thumbnail_Horseplay 2 - copyright Riccardo Salamanna.jpg

Image © Riccardo Salamanna

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